May 12, 2008

When the waters roar and foam...

            Our world is reeling with the news of devastation in Myanmar. Our eyes have been seared by images of floating corpses, people huddled in makeshift lean-to’s, and fields too wet to cultivate—even with the brawn of water buffaloes. What do people of faith think and do in such a time?


            Psalm 46 describes God as “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…”  Despite this cataclysm, we believe in God’s faithfulness. What form can it take in the wake of Cyclone Nargis?  In the normative biblical pattern, divine assistance is channeled through committed leaders who will serve the distressed with clear motives. Sometimes, God uses other leaders to accomplish God’s purpose, e.g., Cyrus of Persia. Perhaps God will work through both forms in this urgent and tragic situation.


            Both American Baptist Churches and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship are collecting funds to alleviate suffering. I plan participate in both, and invite you to join me. Further, the governments and relief agencies of the world should put pressure on the leaders of this rogue nation to respond to humanitarian aid. Myanmar (Burma) has been led by a repressive military for too long. Self-protection rather than service seems to be their pattern. Yet, as Pharaoh’s heart was softened to permit the people of God to leave Egypt (through pressure brought by varied natural disasters), so might the ruling junta find reason to open its heart to those ready to help. May it be so.

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