The Haitian earthquake is already being termed the worst natural disaster in history as the death toll from this catastrophe is expected to rise to over 200 000, which means it would indeed rival the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean in so far as the loss of human life is concerned. What is even more disturbing is that the poor state of Haitian infrastructure and the parlous state of its government has added incalculably to the litany of human misery which the news reports are conveying to us, including the prediction I heard today that 50% of those pulled from the rubble and being treated at the Port Au Prince Hospital will die for lack of basic health care or surgery. Meanwhile, the spectre of a total collapse of Haitian society into lawlessness looms.
Any attempt to provide a theodicy in the immediate aftermath of this disaster along the lines of “God will bring good out of this” seems superfluous. Suffice to say, though, that a disaster of these proportions does bring good (and alas, evil) out of human beings that in ordinary circumstances only extraordinary people display. One is brought to tears by the suffering and resilience of the victims, the bravery of the rescuers and the compassion shown by many in solidarity with this poor people at this time of crisis, and almost simultaneously one feels the swell of righteous indignation rising against those Christians who have made insensitive and ill-informed commentary on the reasons why this has happened to the Haitian people (see here: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/patriarch-blames-crime-and-drugs-for-haitian-quake/397763.html and here: http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2010/01/13/crimesider/entry6092717.shtml). Let them be reminded of the words of our Lord, "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
The best response a Christian can make to this disaster, after reaching out to the victims in any way possible, is to repent and seek refuge in Christ along with committing those suffering to his grace and mercy. None of us is righteous apart from Christ, no-one is entitled to point the finger at another nation’s supposed collective sin as the cause of this disaster. “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
Lord, have mercy!
(Note: For an interesting historical sidelight on the relation between the liberation of Haiti from colonial rule and the survival of the American Republic, see Gene Veith's post here: http://www.geneveith.com/what-america-owes-to-haiti/_4439, or click on the hyperlink in the right-hand column under 'Blogs..'. I was going to post on this myself, but Dr Veith's post renders this unnecessary.)