“I thought we couldn’t survive, our children couldn’t survive, but by God’s grace and mercy we were able to survive. Every second was so dangerous and scary. We felt that we were not standing or sitting on the ground but were floating on slough mud, it would break out any time and we were ready to sink into it. The trees and houses were swinging right and left, we were just seeing which trees and houses would fall down the first around us.
Open and muddy ground was our beds and old and tore plastic was over us to protect us from the rain, but it wasn’t able to protect us completely so we were all wet by rain. But still we were surviving by God’s grace and mercy. Even though we lie down on the ground; couldn’t sleep because every after Shock of the Earthquake would bring fear and uncertainty for our lives. But as the dawn come up, every morning could give a hope to live and survive. Every second was uncertain but it was very meaningful and valuable for our lives in the world.”
(Email from Sher Lama – father of Mercy Children’s Home in Kathmandu and Pokhara)
I’m constantly bombarded with pictures, videos, and stories- both physically and in my mind- of the people and the nation that I love so dearly. I get just small glimpses of their pain, their fear, their anguish, their suffering. Thousands are living in tents, without food, without water. Familiar villages flash across the news, once quaint and beautiful and now a pile of debris. Days pass by but aftershocks continue to rumble across the country. Families and individuals move back home but run from their houses in terror as the shaking breaks out again. When will this nightmare end?
While I’m sure all those who are in Nepal want to run to a safe haven, where the ground isn’t threatening to split at any moment, my heart is bursting within me, tempting me to run right to the middle of the chaos. My arms yearn to hold the fear-filled children, my voice longs to whisper words of hope, my tears being shed in solitude want to join the tears of the thousands who have lost their family. As the concerns of the people around me have moved to other events and occurrences my thoughts continually return to the Himalayas.
The blame for the disaster gets placed on the Hindu gods as the Nepalese people have invested prayers in them for centuries past, yet the merciless disaster still occurred. I see their beliefs crumbling like the temples and shrines in the wake of the earthquake and I see a structure of hope that only comes through Jesus replacing the centuries old strongholds. I trust that God’s timing is perfect and that His goodness will overcome the brokenness.
In the past week I am also reminded of other recent natural disasters and I’m convicted in my realization that I have never reacted with this sort of care to any of them. I would maybe shoot up a couple quick prayers for God to take care of them, but never anguished or advocated for them to this extreme. Yet they are just as much someone’s passion, family, friends as the people in Nepal are to me. Someone’s friends and family members were killed in the Tsunami that hit Japan. Beloved Haitian villages were destroyed in the earthquake there in 2010. Many were left without homes after Hurricane Katrina hit the southern states. I turned a concerned eye for but a moment before moving forward with my life and “bigger, more immediate” concerns.
It’s like a situation has to hit close enough to home for us to take true concern with it in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. It has to be personal enough, exciting enough, or trending enough for us to get up and do something, to take an active and involved stance, even to pray. But what if we were just filled with compassion for hurting people? What if the things that hurt God’s heart hurt ours too? What if we spent more time watching the news on our knees and weeping than discussing the latest sports event? What if we prayed like it actually made a difference for these people, no matter what side of the world they live on?
I know that I want to commit to trying this method out and see what kind of a difference it makes in my life, my outlook, and the world around me. Is anyone else willing to invest in this great experiment of compassion and prayer? Let’s start with Nepal and not let it stop there.