God is good?

We Filipinos are no strangers to calamities. That’s why our hearts go out for the people of Myanmar and China. According to Yahoo! News, the Red Cross estimated that the cyclone death toll in Myanmar could reach up to almost 130,000. Images of piles upon piles of rotting corpses circulate the Internet. (However, the military junta gave a much lower casualty estimate of more than 38,000 dead and almost 28,000 missing.) Add to that the more than 2.5 million people who urgently needed food, water and shelter. But, due to the restrictions imposed by the Myanmar government, foreign aid has only reached 270,000. World Food Program needs 55,000 tons of rice to provide a three-month supply for 750,000 people. Yet, only 361 tons have been shipped so far. Sadly, there were reports of relief switching. High-grade rice became brown, smelly rice that even dogs would not eat. Like Job who received bad news after another in rapid succession, while we were still reeling from the calamity in Myanmar, a 15-second, 7.9-magnitude earthquake jolted Sichuan, China. Because around 26,000 people remain buried in collapsed structures and more than 1,400 missing, experts fear that the 15,000 casualty estimates could rise even higher. The quake directly affected 10 million people. The fact that China has a strict one-child policy made the loss of children more painful.

In the midst of all these, can we still say, “God is good”? Jeremiah, dubbed as the weeping prophet, saw his doomsday prophecies come true. Babylon laid an 18-month siege on Jerusalem. There was so much hunger and thirst that mothers resorted to the despicable act of cannibalism. Thus, Jeremiah cried out in his aptly-titled book of Lamentations, “Should women eat their offspring, the children they have cared for?” (2:20, NIV) If ever there’s a person who could question the heart of God, it was Jeremiah. But, he did not. Instead, he declared, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (3:21-23) Let us pray that the people of Myanmar and China would still see God’s goodness despite of these tragedies.

Brethren, God is good, no matter what.

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