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Bitter or Thankful?
Photo: Don Stevenson
The pictures and video footage coming out of Haiti wrench my heart. I feel helpless to ease the emotional and physical suffering that hundreds of thousands are facing.

The quake has left 300,000 Haitians homeless. They’re trying to survive on the streets, their stomachs empty as they wait desperately for food. They’re lined up outside of understaffed clinics, their wounds needing attention. Death is all around them. They can’t escape its site or stench as load after load of corpses go through the streets on the way to mass graves.

In recent news I’ve noticed a mixture of stories coming out of Haiti. Some people have turned bitter, while others surprisingly are finding things to be thankful for amid all the tragedy.

For instance, there’s the story of Reverend Eric Toussaint. His church, once a proud cathedral, is just a mere shell surrounded by rubble. Nevertheless, he resumed Mass there following the quake for a small congregation of exhausted survivors. “Why give thanks to God?” he asked them. “Because we are here.” 1

And there’s Florence Louis. She has two children and is seven months pregnant with a third. With thousands of other Haitians, she gathered where U.N. workers were handing out high-energy biscuits. Lois clutched her allotment—four packets of biscuits—and said, “It is enough because I didn’t have anything at all.” 2

There is No God

But then there are the stories that stand out in stark contrast. Ones like that of Remi Polevard whose five children lay dead beneath the rubble of his home. Speaking of God Remi cried, “How could He do this to us? There is no God.” 3

And there is the nameless woman in the orange dress. She was seen walking the streets downtown where corpses were being burned five days after the quake. Pulling out a copy of the Bible from her dress pocket, she flung it into the fire….

When I read these stories I thought, “The Haitians are very much like us. We both have a basic choice when tragedy strikes.” We can blame God, or we trust Him. We can run from God, or run to Him. We can hate God, or we can love Him.

To say there is no God is to say there is no plan or purpose. To fling our Bibles into the flames is to throw away the very words that bring comfort and hope. To hold on to God and the promise of Heaven will not only help us make it through this life, but will take us on to eternal life. A place where God has promised, “I, the Lord, will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will come to an end” (Isaiah 16:20).

We cannot choose what trials come, but we can choose the outcome. We can choose our attitude, who we blame, what we learn, and what we do with God. The best choice is holding on to the One who will someday come to our rescue and end our days of sorrow.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH VERSION ®.

1 http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,583241,00.htmlseveral
2 http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2010-01-17-haiti-sunday_N.htm">http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2010-01-17-haiti-sunday_N.htm
3 http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_14213139?source=rss

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