Typhoon Bopha is the latest example of a natural disaster striking a third-world nation. Many countries in this world struggle in a subsistent lifestyle as it is, and the slightest adversities, much less major catastrophes, further undermine a people who live at the financial edge. Most countries where I have traveled are such nations, filled with those who are literally concerned with having their “daily bread” (Lk. 11:3) or “food and covering” (1 Tim. 6:8). The Middle East is riddled with violence and political uprising. Nations like Mexico are impacted by anarchical drug lords. But, despite the reality of earthquakes and storms, revolution, and political corruption, the billions of people on our planet are most threatened by the oldest problem of all–sin. Famine-stricken children rightly pull at our heartstrings, as we look at bloated stomach and sunken eyes. That is because their suffering is visible, observable by the naked eye.
The richest people in western nations like ours down to the poorest people in urban slums around the world are all besieged by an invisible plague. That plague destroys souls. It leads to an eternity spent apart from God in a place words cannot adequately depict. Even if those in the world cannot feel it, the hurt is no less real.
The Red Cross and other international relief societies have nothing on their planes and trucks to remedy this ill, unless someone is carrying a Bible. It reveals the “balm of Gilead” (cf. Jer. 8:22), the cure of the Great Physician (cf. Mk. 2:17), and the help of the spiritually sick (1 Cor. 11:30). It offers the Bread of Life (Jn. 6:35) and the Water of Life (Jn. 4:11; Rev. 7:17). It offers the way to the Father’s house (Jn. 14:2,6), a place where the security is unbeatable (Rev. 21:27). God relies on us to get spiritual relief to the billions of sin-sick and those held captive by the devil (2 Tim. 2:26). But it begins by our caring that the lost are lost. Until that matters to us, we will remain oblivious to their need (and our own).