In the past week of my mental preparation for our service in Haiti, I’ve been faced with the unexpected reminder of how power emerges from pain. I do not have the medical training or the ability to directly alleviate the pain of our brothers and sisters suffering in Haiti, but I am encouraged against feelings of helplessness; direct medical intervention is not my job.
As a public health student, I listened to professor upon professor speak about ‘community empowerment’ and ‘long-term sustainable interventions’ for the underserved. One public health degree and one devastating earthquake later, I am finally beginning to understand what all this means. Much as I want to, I often cannot prevent pain in the world, nor can I completely erase it. I can only walk alongside a suffering human being, hoping to channel the light, word and action that empowers and sustains.
As a believer in Jesus, this calling goes deeper than vocational. Firstly, I recognize that any sustainable empowerment can only come from the one who is greater than all humanity. Only if God acts through our team, can we provide Haiti with more than a symptomatic solution to suffering. Secondly, my inability to prevent or cure pain is an age-old problem. “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now,” Romans 8:22. Thankfully it doesn’t stop here. Jesus suffered through death and pain in order to emerge victorious in full life and power on the other side; it is this hope that allows us to lift our hands towards those in Haiti, offering the promise of life after death.