We limited human beings tend to respond to others in dramatic ways in the aftermath of disasters. Hurricanes, floods, terrorist attacks, and others, find many packing and ready to leave as soon as possible to offer assistance. This is certainly a good and godly response to our neighbors in need.
In order to consider the tsunami a message to humankind, we must believe that God micromanaged or was causative in this event. I believe that God created the world (and many other worlds) and once life evolved to human beings, God doesn’t create chaos and destruction simply to convey a message. My emphatic response to the question of the tsunami as a message to humankind is “No.”
I do believe that there are lessons to be learned from the tsunami. Until many of these natural disasters occur, most of us don’t give much thought to countries such as Burma or to those who live there. Many of these are poor countries will struggle for years to return to live as it was before the disasters let alone be able to make changes that will reduce their poverty and poor living conditions. I believe that it is often easier to respond to disasters where we never see those who are impacted; their lives do not touch us personally. To respond to local needs, we must realize that these are are neighbors, persons of various cultures, religions, educational levels, financial means. In otherwords, they are TOO REAL and we are uncomfortable with them. Of course, we see throngs of refugees, children drinking their bath water, a meal for five that we would consider only enough for one. Once we turn off the television, we errase that memory and go on our way.
We watch the day to day news regarding these natural disasters and, at least subconsciously, believe that we’re in the United States and nothing like that will happen here. But we have had events: Katrina, floods that have wiped out crops and ruined farmers, earthquakes, and others.
We have a responsibility to other human beings. We undoubtedly not understand some of the cultures, living situations, beliefs, and ways of life of many of these sisters and brothers, but we do share our humanity with them. Although we are frustrated with the present economy and we complain (and rightly so) about the cost of gasoline and heating, and groceries….. many of us continue to manage without starving, reading by the flickering flame of candles and forsaking television.
“What ever you do to your sisters and brothers, you do to me” Jesus is credited with saying. This was our message and anything that occurs now we pray, will remind us of the admonition of Jesus. Our brothers and sisters are everywhere; some in countries whose names we don’t even know and others, living next door to us. It shouldn’t take a tsunami to wake us up to the needs of others, all we need to do is open our hearts and our eyes to the world around us AND TO RESPOND as we are able.