“New Orleans” or “Pray for a friend I have down there”

Jasonjones_mapI have a professional colleague that calls New Orleans home. His name is Jason Jones and he is a brilliant photographer and a great guy. Pray for him when you have a chance. If you click the photo, you’ll see that he’s in the heart of the devastation.

He sent me a Christmas card this past winter. He and his girlfriend are standing in front of the old home they gutted and rebuilt. During shoots, he used to talk about all the work he was putting into it.

The Christmas card read:

We did it! We’re celebrating the Holidays in our new old home.

Joel — Thanks fro a great couple shoots. Here’s where all the money went! Merry Christmas — Jason

Now…I’m clearly speculating here…

I don’t know that he’s a Christ-follower. And just reflecting on how excited he was about his new home and all the work he put into it…the satisfaction of finishing the project… If by chance his home is standing in eight feet of water right now…what’s his attitude toward the God of the universe, who commands the wind and rain?

Jasonjones_homeI always try to enter into the minds of people struggling with things about God — the tough, unanswerable questions…the ones Christians despise for existing. Why is there suffering? If God loves everyone, why would he send people to hell. Natural catastrophies such as tsunami, hurricanes, earthquakes and landslides…they don’t make a whole lot of sense. Too many innocent hurt.

We can offer pat answers like "because of sin," "because of the fall," "because God is just." But those only go so far — if anywhere — in the minds of the people experiencing the tragedy.

I think empathy of Christ followers needs to rise. So often, we try to offer people an answer, expecting some magic explanation to take all their pain away. Instead of deep theology, lets offer some practical, tangible love and support.

That’s one of the things I love about the Mennonite church’s relief efforts. Mennonite Central Committee is a very proactive relief outreach of the Church in response to Matt. 25:35-36.

By Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a marketer, blogger and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

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