Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ezekiel 39:21-29
Psalms 30, 32, 42, 43
Philippians 4:10-20
John 17:20-26

Dear Reader, today’s readings are for February 20, however I am writing this in early January. God’s message and counsel in today’s readings are particularly relevant for what is happening today, as they always are.

Today’s newspaper headlines describe the devastation in Haiti following the earthquake. This is truly a catastrophe of major proportions. As believing Christians, how do we reconcile such misery and pain with a loving God?

Today’s readings speak of being restored to God’s grace and favor after our moving away from him. It is very human of us to interpret human suffering as God’s anger and to respond with our own anger and frustration. In doing so, we move farther from Him and the restoring love He has for us.

I have a good friend living here but with immediate family living in Haiti. I talked with him today, and he told me his family is alive and that their house is still standing. While they have survived the immediate crisis, normal life will be very difficult with the complete destruction of normal services infrastructure. It is natural for him to question why a loving God would allow such a disaster on a people already suffering. While my attempt to encourage him was weak, his response was strong and positive. He has hope that, as a direct result of this catastrophe, the people of Haiti will now address the necessary changes within the country required to secure long term stability and prosperity that has hindered their development in the past. He expressed the hope found in today’s readings. God will restore us to His favor and He will protect us. We, however, must be willing to accept His love and to honor Him in our lives.

I retired this month after working for 44 years. It is an opportunity for me to reprioritize my life going forward. How will I spend my time and talents? Just as Haiti has the opportunity to prioritize how they will use the international aid that is being provided, retirement has provided me that same opportunity.

I pray that God will be at the center of that decision-making with the hope that we will be restored to God’s grace and protection for the future.

--JDD

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