I don’t watch the news much, partly because it has got to be one of the most disheartening things to do with your time. I would much rather at 6 pm watch the Simpsons, Friends, Seinfeld, or some other no-brainer-mindless-entertainment my male-brain so much enjoys. So I miss out on hearing some stuff. I heard about the earthquake in Haiti, I think because my wife saw something about it on the Internet and in passing just mentioned it to me. I didn’t think much of it at the time, as I was more than likely being entertained by the idiot-box.
It’s lunch time here at LH, and Pastor Colin offered to boil me some hot dogs (leftovers from a youth event — I love my job!!). In the kitchen we got talking, and he asked if I knew much of the situation in Haiti. I was then informed that the capital, Port-au-Prince, had pretty much been completely leveled, and that authorities believe that the death toll will exceed 100,000.
Uhg. Like I said, disheartening.
I’m reminded of the morning of December 26, 2004, waking up to hear the news of the devastating tsunami that had pummelled the south-Asian coastlines. What followed the Boxing Day tsunami was a flood of reports of help and aid racing to get within the borders of Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other countries. I am anticipating the same coverage for the next couple days, possibly weeks, about global aid rushing to Haiti, as we hear about the escalating death toll. Perhaps this could be a good-news/bad-news distraction from the Olympic coverage that plagues the newscasts over here in BC.
I was preparing to sit down and work on something for Spilled Salt, and I had a verse in mind. This verse comes while Jesus is sending out his disciples to cast out demons and heal diseases. Jesus says this, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16). My thought pattern went for a brief roller-coaster ride of trying to make a connection between two seemingly unrelated things that flooded my brain waves. And if you know me, I can’t handle those rides, they make me dizzy and sick, so I do my best to avoid both the actual and metaphorical situations.
I looked at some notes, and found a reference to a page in a book I had just finished. The title seems to have nothing to do with tsunamis, sheep, wolves, or even getting dizzy, the book is: “Family Based Youth Ministry” by Mark deVries. But there is this line in there, near the end where Mark writes this, “No matter how many push-ups they do, no matter how much training they have, in a head-on battle with a wolf, a sheep will lose every time. As long as the sheep is depending on its own resources, it can never win.” My thought process that I refer to as roller-coaster ride just took one of those crazy high G-force turns. That last line in the quote rang in my head:
“As long as the sheep is depending on its own resources, it can never win.”
Haiti is quoted as being the poorest country in the west. A sheep you might say. This sheep has suffered a tremendous tragedy. Thousands of people are trapped in rubble of concrete and steel. Thousands of people will be without water, food, and shelter. Thousands of people have lost everything they own. And then, like earlier mentioned, 100,000 people (potentially) have lost their lives.
“As long as the sheep is depending on its own resources, it can never win.” Haiti is set up to lose. To nature’s wolf.
As you surf through some news sites across the net, you already see aid is already on its way. Other sheep are coming around this poor sheep to see that it does not completely lose. We saw these same efforts as a result of the hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in 2004, the fire storm that hit the Okanagan in 2003 — and countless other disasters that have made a global impact.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that we can never be fully prepared for what is just around the corner. Of course, in all this earthquake talk, someone (be it me, a newscast, or your mom) will bring up “the big one,” the big one that we in the Pacific Northwest hear about every time that a country somewhere else suffers from a big one. We are told then to be prepared, to have rations and water saved, to make sure we always know where our friends and families are, to make sure that we have batteries and radios, and perhaps a deck of cards to keep us occupied. These are good things to prepare for.
But what about the return of Christ? (Whether we beat him to the pearly gates or he comes to get us …) We don’t hear so much about that, do we? We don’t hear it on the newscasts on TV and radio that we must be prepared for facing God, or even in our conversations. Sure, some weird dude on a busy street corner might be yelling something about it, but who really pays attention to those guys anyway? And perhaps you hear it on Sunday mornings, but then Monday morning you can’t remember the text that was preached on (I’m guilty here as well).
Christ calls us to be sheep, (I can now only imagine that little kid dressed up in a sheep costume on Christmas morning as part of the nativity scene being acted out by the Sunday school kids), defenseless creatures that on their own cannot hurt a fly. And when the wolves come attacking, we’re doomed. But we have this power of God that we can tap into, a grace that is provided for us, and an army of angels that comes to protect us. Should you choose to accept and be prepared.
So if the “big one” hits you where you are at — are you ready? Do you have your rations? Do you know where those closest to you are?
By rations I mean your relationship with Christ.
By those closest to you, I mean them.
Now that all the serious stuff is done, here's a great clip. Sam Sheepdog & Ralph Wolf - Woolen Under Where (1963)