As you certainly know, last week the island nation of Haiti was devastated by the strongest earthquake to hit that region in over two hundred years. This is the latest edition in the tragedy that is the recent history of the Haitian people. Haiti consistently ranks among the poorest nations in the world and is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere by a great margin. Only a few years ago the nation was ravanged by three powerful hurricanes. Just as the rebuilding from those hurricanes was nearing completion they experienced the devastation of this earthquake. Fortunately, this disaster has brought about some of the best in people as people from all spectrums and even opposing viewpoints have come together to reach out to a hurting people. Yet, at the same time this disaster has also brought out some of the worst in people as well-intentioned men and women have sought to explain this tragedy. For example, last week evangelical television personality Pat Robertson proclaimed the earthquake to be God’s judgment on Haiti for a pact they made with Satan some 200 years ago. The ripples from Robertson’s comments continue to flood throughout American culture. Before moving on, let’s set the record straight. The alleged pact with Satan is believed by most historians to be little more than a cultural myth or an “urban legend.” Perhaps the myth is true. Perhaps not. Regardless, anyone basing an opinion on the alleged pact is on shaky ground to begin with. Secondly, it is nothing short of arrogance to believe that any one of us has the ability to completely understand the ways of God. While I have the utmost respect for all that God has done through Pat Robertson’s ministry, in this instance, Robertson has taken a swan dive off the deep end of the pool without a life jacket.
I understand that any time a tragedy like this occurs we are absolutely determined to understand why it would happen. It is human nature to want to know why something happens. However, there are some things that we simply cannot fully wrap our minds around. God’s reasoning in allowing such a devastating tragedy is one of those things that we simply cannot understand. We all make mistakes, and we all reap the consequences of our mistakes. Some of those mistakes have consequences that span generations; others only last for a few moments. The simple reality is that for His own reasons, God allowed this incredible tragedy to occur. I don’t know why, and – respectfully – neither do you. We must simply trust that God knows what He is doing and that He will use even this devastating event to bring glory to Himself.