Shaken foundation

Quake highlights despair, hope, shared humanity

May 11, 2015 by

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Natural disasters highlight some of the best, worst and most unexplainable pieces of humanity.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, killing more than 7,500 and thrusting incredible natural force onto a small space full of people and short on resources. Nothing but the science behind the shifting of land seems right or makes sense about that.

Such demonstrations of how unexpectedly life can be cut short bring to the surface the frailty of existence and inevitability of death.

It’s hard to imagine much hope will rise above the lifeless bodies, shattered structures and lost progress in Nepal. But Jesus’ resurrection provides a model for having faith that hope will eventually come after life’s most despairing moments.

Glimpses of hope flicker in Nepal. A four-month-old baby was found alive in the rubble after people risked their lives to head back into danger. Victims shared limited resources with others and offered their skills to help.

In a rare moment of sensing shared humanity, differences are forgotten among survivors and also around the world. People unite in prayer, in empathy, to raise funds — and to ask “Why?”

People of faith also ask, “Where is God?” in the aftermath of natural disasters. We wonder why we were saved. We realize we could be next. Nothing seems fair, and sometimes it’s easier just to ignore the news.

But in these moments of questioning, we also ask, “Where are God’s people?” After natural disasters, the answer is often: united.

Mennonite Central Committee has seven staff members in Nepal who are all safe. But they are ready to respond to those crying out around them. MCC already approved a plan that will provide food and shelter support in remote villages. Donations are needed.

Active response and witnessing hope may not answer the questions natural disasters evoke. But they remind us that hope shows up in the midst of despair and even holds us together for a brief moment.

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