In this piece I am going to rely on, hopefully, that you’ve each read our prior pieces involving Satan’s ownership and control over the “earth and air.” As well, hopefully you’ve also read the pieces that speak to our Heavenly Father using the often devastating horror of Satan’s hand to bring hope and goodness to our world. So I’m going to skip the scriptural documentation today based on it having been appropriately covered in prior pieces (blogs).
My first encounter with Haiti was at about age 5. My father was stationed at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. My parents had the chance to go to Haiti for a few days via a Navy vessel making a trip over and back to the island during a long weekend. I was not allowed to go because of my age.
Upon their return, I heard many stories of the beauty of the Island, as well as, the almost indescribable poverty that kept 99% of the population in its grip. I heard stories of my parents having seen the small children of countless families that scoured garbage dumps for food and usable day-to-day items. Their mothers would sit at the bottom of the mountains of garbage collecting those things their children would bring down. Some items that they didn’t need for survival, the mothers would attempt to sell in the various little markets around Port-Au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.
The cab driver carried my parents and another couple, who were close friends, to all the local sites: the Capital (like our White House), the many markets and other places that he thought non-Haitians would find interesting. In their journeys around the area, they accidentally stumbled onto a Voodoo ritual that was in progress. The cab driver (also their tour guide) tried to get them back into his cab so he could take them away from the area. My parents and their friends would not hear of leaving something they had heard about from the Cuban workers that provided domestic and other labors back at Guantanamo Naval Base.
I remember their story of seeing women seemingly dance ceaselessly around a cauldron of liquid. Periodically the women would dance up to the cauldron and take a drink and would dance around even more quickly than before. The priestess would encourage the crowd to sing and clap as the women danced in their, apparently, drugged state. The wife of the couple that was with my parents casually walked up and took a sip of what the dancers were drinking from the cauldron. By this time the cab driver was having a fit to get them out of there (he had not been paid all of his money by my parents yet).
The friend that took the taste of what was in the cauldron turned very red in the face and had trouble getting her breath. She later commented on how spicy and hot the liquid tasted, as well as, making her feel a little “light-headed.” They spoke of the experience often in the following months while we continued to be “stationed” at Guantanamo Bay.
On another tour at the Navy Base in Cuba, my dad was actively involved in a hurricane relief effort in Haiti. Later he spoke of the heavy damage inflicted by the hurricane on this incredibly impoverished nation. His stories reflected not just the incomprehensible damage done to the people and the country of Haiti, but the “never-say-die” attitude of the people there, as well. He reiterated many opportunities he had to see the enduring spirit of the citizens of this desperately challenged nation.
I still have a pair of mahogany faces, along with a set of “Voodoo” drums, that they brought back from their weekend journey into a foreign (to them) land. Those souvenirs and my parents stories of this island nation and its people has left a lasting memory for me. More recently, a dear friend of mine from Puerto Rico introduced me to a number of Haitian friends of his that live in Central Florida. Their sense of entrepreneurship, along with a great sense of humor and bright outlook on life impressed me much like, I’m sure, my parents were in their contact with the Haitian people back in the 1950’s and the 1960’s.
I reminisce about my, albeit brief, exposure to these resilient people of Haiti to address the question I’ve heard implied by those in the media, along with others, during the coverage of the earthquake disaster that occured just a few days ago. Basically they wonder if there is a “loving God” why would He allow such a horrible calamity to occur to a people already so impoverished almost beyond belief.
It has been said by some that the Haitian people who practice Voodoo “made a pact with the devil” and are getting what they deserve. I understand where this belief is based, but I don’t believe God has “struck down” the Haitian people, along with their nation, thus condemning them for their practise of Voodoo. I believe that Satan would want us to wonder that when we see the gut-wrenching pictures of the injured and dead lying in the streets of Port-Au-Prince.
Again, as stated in the Bible (God’s Holy Word), Satan acquired control of the earth and the air from Adam and Eve. God, being “Perfect in every way,” will not take back something He freely gave to His Beloved children in the Garden of Eden, even though they chose to give it away to Satan for the chance of becoming “like God.” God can only await those opportunities for Him to take a bad, or potentially bad, occurrence and bring “good” out of an otherwise unquestionably bad situation. His Hand is incredibly evident in the rescues some 72 hours after the earthquake and the significant immediate response of this nation, as well as, the rest of the world!
The self-preservation instincts of the Haitian people are reflected from the smallest example such as families manufacturing their own “coal” to cook their food and boil their water, to the singing in the streets of favorite hymns praising God for keeping them alive! Yes, their society has been, and continues to be, fraught with crime, violence, and corruption. Are there bad elements in their society, not unlike our own? Most assuredly, yes! However, even despite the obvious, the Haitian people continue to raise their families, care for their elderly and praise God for keeping them alive another day. They may or may not see God (often called Bondye) as we see Him. They often have lesser gods (in West African countries this is known as “lao”). Frequently, they join their beliefs in catholosism with their long held African beliefs, called Fon and Ewe (found in West and Central African Nations).
Jesus told His Disciples of “other peoples” that the “Word” must go out to. We, as Christians, should not judge who is acceptable in God’s Love and who is not. We must not diminish our love for our fellow men and women of this world because their “religion” is different than ours. Otherwise, our own variance of religious beliefs (Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Mormon etc.) would cause unresolvable conflict of views amongst those of us professing the Christian Faith.
In closing, this world is experiencing and, sadly I fear, will continue to experience terrible events of hurtful and probably catastrophic nature. We, that have even minimal knowledge of the Bible, know of the prophetic signs of the end times. The Bible (Jesus) tells us that only the Father Knows when the end times begin. He (Jesus) also tells us that there will be “signs” prior to the end times. Much of what is happening in this world today more than meets His definition of the “signs.” We can only maintain spiritual joy in our souls with the knowledge that no matter the terrorist’s attacks, “natural” disasters, worldwide sickness, and “wars and rumors of wars,” we are spirits that are Eternally Protected by our Lord Jesus. As horrible as most of these events are (and will be), we must remember that “1000 years are but a flicker of the eye” to God and we must always remember that first and foremost that anything we face in this world has already been “overcome by Jesus!”