Why I want to go to Haiti

The rumors are true – I’ve been trying to get to Haiti. Not just for a short-term trip (1 to 2 weeks), but more like a medium-term trip (3 to 6 months). Unfortunately, it does not seem likely.

An oft asked question is “Why?” Why would you want to risk your safety? Why would you want to live in those conditions? Why would you leave your family? Well, you can imagine the sorts of questions. Perhaps you have a few you’d like to add to this list. My answer is Jesus of course.

As a Christian I have accepted the theology of suffering in the Bible. Everyone suffers, but that the Bible explains why Christians suffer. For example we have 2 Timothy 3:12, where Paul tells us, “In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” That is a sure promise of suffering. Or try putting on Romans 5:3-5 as to the why of suffering for a Christian,”And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance,  endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.  This hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

But this does not answer the why to Haiti, does it? No, it does not. It is a elementary introduction into a Christian attitude of suffering. The answer is that we are to not only accept suffering, but to embrace and seek it out.

Are you shocked? Think about Jesus, not only our Lord and Savior, but also our example. He did not lay down blindly as the Father decreed Jesus’ sacrifice via the cross. No, his part was a willing part. He did what the Father wanted, but of his own accord. He sought out the cross saying Mark 10:32-45  Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death. Then they will hand Him over to the Gentiles,  and they will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him, and kill Him, and He will rise after three days. …For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life– a ransom for many” (Mark 10:32-45). Jesus is the one who gave his life – it is not taken from him.

So it should not be surprising that Jesus would tell us to do the same.  Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). But there is another passage that I find even more compelling and drives my desire to go to places like Haiti and suffer with the people. You might think of  “I have become all things to all people, so that I may by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22), but that would not be it. Rather it is what Paul says at the beginning of Colossians.

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for His body, that is, the church” (Colossians 1:24).  We know Christ’s sacrifice was perfect – lacking nothing. What Paul means when he claims that he is “completing what was lacking in Christ’s afflictions” is the physical manifestation of what suffering looks like when faith works through love to serve others. For most people, Jesus’ sufferings make no sense because they have no reference in which to compare it. We must become an illustrative example in life so people have a reference of suffering for the sake of others.

If we merely throw money at Haiti or other places of sufferings as Christians then we are missing our primary mode of calling concerning how we are to serve. For we are primarily called to serve through suffering that is manifested before those people we seek to minister. We cannot do that far off. Donations are lovely and desperately needed, but they are not the only or primary thing needed. We must be willing to go to places like Haiti, sleep like they sleep, eat like they eat, wash like they wash so that we might be able to teach them about Jesus the Savior.

A couple of resources on Haiti and suffering follow:

Monergism resources on suffering.

Books (Click on the books for more info):

The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Fund, where 100% of your donations are used for relief on the ground.

Also, here is Charlie Rose on an update from Haiti

Vodpod videos no longer available.


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