I dreamed I was back in Haiti — with the precious children I visited through Compassion International in 2002. As I wrote in my journal then, “I will never forget the sweet faces, the laughter, attempts to communicate, holding hands or hugging a preschooler on my lap. What an awesome day! But what extreme and desperate poverty!”
We played “Duck, Duck, Goose” — and used their language: “Kana, Kana, Zwa.”
I also remember the loving country office staff, and the sweet times of praise and worship we had with them: “Mwen pa ko ne, Kisa wap fe, Me mwen map lo ue, le signor Allelu, Allelu, Allelu, Allelu.”
A Young Man
Most of all, I remember meeting Josue for the first time, a boy I’d sponsored for 16 years. He was about to complete his sponsorship, and we were so excited to finally meet. We fell into each others’ arms easily, like long lost friends. Now, I fear he may have been in Port-au-Prince, where he was working previously.
I also recall each of the precious LDP students we met, already working in their communities in their chosen fields. What an impressive group! No doubt, they have been powerful leaders in many ways. I don’t know their names, but the vocations they chose are (left to right): a Diplomat, a School Administrator, a Medical Doctor, an Accountant. I wonder — where are they now, during this crisis? No doubt, they are helping the victims.
Yesterday morning, I was walking and listening to a song, thinking of all the personal losses that we, as an organization, will inevitably hear in weeks to come. These words spoke powerfully to me:
by Steve & Vicki Cook , and Bob Kauflin
I have a shelter in the storm
When troubles pour upon me
Though fears are rising like a flood
My soul can rest securely
O Jesus, I will hide in You
My place of peace and solace
No trial is deeper than Your love
That comforts all my sorrows.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I have a shelter in the storm
When constant winds would break me
For in my weakness, I have learned
Your strength will not forsake me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
The One who bears my burdens
With faithful hands that cannot fail
You’ll bring me home to Heaven.
When I heard that final chorus, it was as though I had a vision: I saw children in the rubble: some being rescued by relief workers, pulling them back into a “world of sorrows.” Others were being rescued by angels — bearing them gently away to Heavenly places. Next, I saw Compassion staff and children — those who had preceded them — welcoming them into that Safe Haven and taking them into their arms. What a great reunion it must be (and will be for us as well)! This truth can be our peace and comfort.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. — Psalm 116:15, NIV
Onto the pages of every trial there are narrow shafts of light that shine. Thorns will not prick you until you lean against them, and not one will touch you without God knowing…He sympathizes as no one else can and watches to see if through it all, you will dare to trust Him completely. (L. B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert)
We have seen shafts of light this week — Dan Woolley’s rescue, the report that Wess’ lawyer friend is alive, news that Compassion Haiti’s President and 40+ staff members are well, the Canadian team getting out of the country safely, and the Dominican Republic sending in rescue teams quickly. God’s Spirit shines!
God’s voice demands the silence of the soul. Only in the quiet of the spirit could Isaac hear the garments of his God brush by him. His still night became his shining night. My soul, have you pondered these words: “Be still, and know” (Psalm 46:10)? In the hour of distress, you cannot hear the answer to your prayers. How often has the answer seemed to come much later! The heart heard no reply during the moment of its crying, its thunder, its earthquake, and its fire. But once the crying stopped, once the stillness came, once your hand refrained from knocking on the iron gate, and once concern for other lives broke through the tragedy of your own life, the long-awaited reply appeared. You must rest, O soul, to receive your heart’s desire…His rainbow will extend across the subsiding flood and in your stillness you will hear the everlasting music. (L. B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert)
In the weeks and months ahead, we will have to face news of tragic losses. Compassion will have a heavy task to undertake. Many voices cry out for help and consolation. But we will also hear God’s inner voice of peace to our souls, if we listen. He is still in control; still on the throne, and we can trust Him. In the stillness, may we hear His voice like a light shining through the darkness!
One of the great themes of Christianity is triumphant hope. Not just hope as in a distant, vague dream, but triumphant hope, the kind of hope where all things end right. In the midst of the struggles and storms and the sufferings of life, we can advance our thoughts beyond today and see relief…triumph…victory. Because, in the end, God does indeed win…
You and I enter this world screaming…From the moment we’re born until our final breath, pain is our companion…Ultimately, no one sees the benefits of our pain clearer than Christ. He sees through the dark, winding tunnel of your Gethsemane all the way to the end. He sees beyond it into the shining light of eternity. (Charles R. Swindoll, Encouragement for Life, Pg. 171-173)
Finally, Wess Stafford, President of Compassion International, mentioned that the only thing left standing at the Montana Hotel was a mahogany tree, under which he had proposed to his wife 31 years ago. God always leaves a remnant in the land, a “holy seed”:
And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land. — Isaiah 6:13, NIV
Well, in this case, God left not only a stump but an entire tree! Normally it would take a miracle to bring a stump back to life, but ours is already alive and well. Perhaps this is a symbol for us that He is still present in Haiti, and that He will raise up leaders out of the rubble — those whom He has chosen to continue the work of Christ in this precious, hurting country. May we have true comfort, unending trust, quiet rest, and triumphant hope — even in these difficult days — and may we know His presence, love, sovereignty and peace.