It’s a normal Saturday for Esther in Uganda: laundry, pancakes, Institute homework, thinking about trying to catch up on emails. The day always flies by too fast.
I went outside to get Internet and check to see if my new laptop had arrived at its Stateside destination for a returning staff member to bring it to Uganda early next week. And that’s when it happened.
As I checked Facebook, I found out about a major earthquake earlier in the day, outside of Kathmandu, Nepal. A friend who was awakened by an early morning call from her son to let her know he and his family were ok. A post from a non-profit in the midst of building competitions and Stateside concerns.
And I had just posted about being annoyed that mosquitoes were biting me because I had forgotten to apply bug spray before going outside.
A minor inconvenience to the trauma and tragedy hundreds of thousands of people are dealing with right now in Nepal. The death toll, already nearing 900, will undoubtedly rise. People, many injured, are/were scared to go back inside because aftershocks continue rocking the buildings.
Somehow, this time it’s sinking in further. So often, it’s easy to read about disasters and just go about my life. But today, it hit home. As I went back inside, thinking about how to spend the rest of my day, the incongruity and unfairness of it all swept over me.
This moment, there are probably people trapped in collapsed buildings, fighting for their lives. There are thousands whose homes were destroyed, who will spend the night outside in the cold. And I was debating what to have for dinner and whether or not to watch a movie.
It is only by the Lord’s mercy that I am not suffering the same (Lamentations 3:22). That I am instead enjoying innumerable comforts I still take for granted and resent when I don’t have, even here in the bush of Uganda. Why them? Why not me? Why suffering?
We were talking about the sovereignty of God and the role of Satan in class last week. And then this morning, hours before I became aware of all this, I read the part of Romans 9 talking about how God prepares some for destruction and some for mercy (vs. 14-29).
God could have prevented this earthquake. He could have prevented all earthquakes, all natural disasters. But He chooses not to – and the reason is always His plan and His glory. Because He takes things meant for evil and turns them into good. My brain can’t comprehend that, because for those hundreds and hundreds of people who died it doesn’t seem like there can be ANY good in it. But God knows. God loved and cared about every single one of those people, each one as a unique and special creation of His.
It blows my mind to try and think about this. Which is why God is the one in charge and not me! And I am so thankful He is. As I sat on my bed trying to digest the discrepancy between my “challenges” and the life-and-death situation of my fellow humanity right now in Nepal, the tears came. How could I go on about my normal life in the face of this disaster?
Thoughts and ideas flitted through my mind, but the problem is so beyond anything I can really do to affect it. Even prayer feels so small and helpless when looking at things from the perspective of thousands wounded and/or homeless. But prayer is the tool God has given us – and so I prayed. And I will keep on praying. Won’t you join me?
Thankfully, God also uses organizations and individuals to do things both small and big which can help alleviate the hardship of some of these survivors in the coming days and weeks. And just as it is the thought of the individuals who died which makes this feel so overwhelming, so it is the thought of the individuals who will be helped and sustained which brings hope and comfort.
Please pray for Nepal. And please give to help with the relief efforts which will be taking place. Samaritan’s Purse is one organization. I know there are others as well. Don’t forget our fellow humanity in Nepal tomorrow, next week, even in the coming months. They will still need your prayers and support.