An earthquake, a hurricane, a cholera outbreak – and civic unrest as a result of suspected fraud in a national election. Is there anything more Haiti can be subjected to? The population has been struggling to get back on its feet, only to be lashed by the next disaster. Coupled with this are anger and frustration, not only at the slow pace of aid and assistance, but also recently at aid workers accused of exacerbating the cholera epidemic.
I’ve had Haiti on my prayer list. As multiple disasters have seemed to set relief efforts back, my first reaction is to turn to prayer and enfold everyone, from the victims of the earthquake to the protestors, in God’s love for creation.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” that “trials are proofs of God’s care” (p. 66). This doesn’t mean that God sends awful things our way to see how we’ll handle them and if we’ll prove ourselves worthy. Instead, it’s about God’s presence wherever we are. We can never be outside His care, His love, and, yes, His blessings. Even in the midst of the toughest trials, disasters, or threats, God’s presence can be felt.
In the Old Testament, the prophet Elisha proved this to his servant. They were being pursued by an enemy army and in danger of being hunted down and killed. Elisha, with the confidence that God would protect them and care for them during this trial, told his servant not to fear: “They that be with us are more than they that be with them” (II Kings 6:16). His servant had reason to believe in this promise of hope and freedom from fear, as they were both spared from harm.
A colleague of mine who is working in Port-au-Prince has talked with me over the last several months. He said recently: “The people need hope. That’s all there is now.”
I found this comforting and assuring. Thinking about hope as a spiritual quality leads our thought up and toward God and His care for us. Hope is a lifeline in the midst of devastation that comforts. A hymn opens with these words:
All my hope on God is founded;
Day by day my trust is new.
Through the trials of life He guides me,
Only good and only true.
(“Christian Science Hymnal Supplement,” No. 430, Words
by Joachim Neander. Adaptations by Robert Bridges and
There’s that theme of trials again! Not that God sends them, but that during the trials God is always at our side. What better hope can we have? We are forever enfolded in the arms of Love, never outside that love, and never beyond hope. The hymn continues with this promise:
Daily does th’almighty Giver
Bounteous gifts on us bestow.
His desire our soul delighteth,
Joy attends us where we go.
Peace, hope, and joy are ours in the midst of any trial, as the focus remains on God. And our prayers can support this for Haiti, too.