The Asia Tsunami, part II
January 11 05
Right after the tsunami of December 26, Tonya and I were watching the reports on television as relief efforts were just beginning. It was reported that although much food, medicine, and money had already come in, distribution was a major problem. So many agencies and volunteers, but no central command, no unifying organization. We saw the eyes of desperate people who needed not only food and water and medical attention, but direction. So many displaced people, not only homeless physically, but spiritually. They were emotionally drained, looking for answers.
Tonya and I agreed that the world was looking for a leader. The world was searching, at least in their hearts if not spoken, for someone to bring the voice of reason, logic, empathy, compassion, and unity. We were throwing out names of charismatic leaders from past and present and we struck upon Gandhi. Can you imagine if someone of such stature and leadership were on the world scene today?
Well, the next day I was reading some articles about the tsunami and came across an Associated Press report from the Indian island of Nicobar off the west coast of Malaysia. It was reported that much of the island was devastated and one village in particular stood out. Malacca was completely destroyed. There was literally nothing left standing. Except one thing. A statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
As someone who has been studying end times prophecy for the past ten years, I naturally think about these sorts of things. So many events are taking place around the world right now that are setting up a lot of people for a rude awakening. As natural disasters unfold, the world unites. We now have the United Nations officially overseeing and coordinating all relief efforts in South Asia. There are countries working together right now that would not work together under any other circumstances.
This past week, we have seen devastation in California and throughout the midwest. Last September was a month full of deadly hurricanes for much of the southern United States. I know that natural disasters have occurred throughout history, but the intensity and frequency with which such events are now escalating should cause us to pay attention.
Remember how President Bush pulled the nation together in the wake of September 11? The President was re-elected largely in part because he showed strong emotional, spiritual, and practical leadership after the terrorist attacks. How many people, both Christian and non-Christian alike, looked to Bush for comfort? How many praised his efforts and credited him with the recovery the nation sought? Now imagine if the President were even more charismatic, more sure of himself, more worldly, more well-respected around the globe. Imagine that he could bring peace to the Middle East by forging a treaty. Imagine that he could continue the ecumenical thrust in the Church today to bring harmony among the world's religions. Imagine that he was even able to perform miracles. If such a man were to present himself to the world in time of disaster, how many people would follow him?
We still hear the words of Rodney King today, "Can't we all just get along?" Well, that's what's happening right now in Asia. So many praise the compromises made among nations and religions for the sake of unity in time of global disaster. I'm no prophet, but I think it's safe to say that this type of response will continue as the months go by and more disasters occur. What should be the response of Christians? We are called to love one another in the Church and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are called to help those in need, not only by alleviating their physical needs, but by leading people to Jesus, the only one who can truly help them. Jesus tells His disciples to occupy until He comes. That means we are to continue to preach the Gospel and reach out a hand in love in response to any number of needs. But there is a line which we must not cross. We cannot lead people to men (or ourselves) but only to Christ. In times of disaster, it is tempting to lean on men, to look to people to solve our problems. And in this global effort to all "just get along," it is tempting to compromise for the sake of unity.
But there is only one truth, one Holy Spirit who leads us into truth, and one true God who created us to worship Him in truth. Truth compromised is no longer truth.
Let us be cautious how we respond to the world's needs.
As I mentioned last week, Tonya Betz Ministries supports Gospel For Asia and I, personally, have been involved with GFA for five years now. If you have been directed by God to give, please consider a gift to Gospel For Asia.