Choose life

THE EARTHQUAKES that hit Turkey and Syria recently brought widespread devastation. Many of the affected areas were already plagued by years of war and refugee crises. And then the massive quakes hit. Thousands of deaths have been reported, and many are still missing trapped underneath the rubble.

How can we possibly understand events like this? What does our faith tell us to do?

You might decide to look away since it hurts too much. You might shake your fist at God and say he is cruel and unfair. You might rationalize things saying that thousands of people get hurt and die every day. You might choose indifference and not think about it at all. 

Or you might choose to act. You might decide to not let those thousands of lives be lost in vain. Because each and every one was a son or daughter. Each one had a family, friend, or community that is grieving now. Great teams of heroes are fighting against the weather, dangerous conditions, and extreme fatigue to dig out the living. Thousands are hoping against hope that a loved one will be returned to them.

You can get tangled up in the what and why of it all. You can let yourself get bitter. You can harden your heart. You can die a little bit inside due to indifference. Or you can choose life. You can invoke the Spirit of God to pour out his mercy over the survivors and over those working to rescue the lost and heal the wounded.   

The least we can do is pray for them all. The least we can do is offer help. And if you can’t help the earthquake victims directly, then help someone close to you. Reach out beyond family and friends. Yes, charity starts at home, but it should not end there.

If you struggle to be generous with money, then send cash. If you struggle to share your time, volunteer some time or meet up with someone you know is lonely. Speak out against killing. Speak out against war. Do not sit still. Do not look away. Instead, let the tragedy inspire you to give and love in ways that aren’t easy for you. And in some small but not insignificant way, you share the pain. You let yourself hurt a bit to help heal.

No doubt, we all have our own personal struggles. So do something about it. Don’t just sit there. Bring justice, mercy, and comfort to a place where you know it’s needed. In this way you honor those that have died — and you join with those who fight to save the living. 

. . . . . . .

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16

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