“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” (Proverbs 31:8 NIV)
I’ve been debating whether or not to write about the category 5 cyclone that hit Fiji on February 20th. It didn’t affect us here and was barely in the news at all. For perspective, in terms of strength, tropical cyclone Winston, the one that just hit Fiji, tied for second behind typhoon Haiyan, which tore through the Philippines in 2013 as one of the strongest storms ever recorded. Realizing that I was so frustrated with the Western world’s news coverage, I guess I felt God tell me to speak up. Fiji might not be big. It doesn’t play large on the world politics scale. But if God’s heart breaks for all of us, then that alone puts us all in the same boat.
TC Winston tore straight across Fiji, from 10 in the morning until well into the evening. It hit the communities that I had served in. The aftermath is brutal. The death toll may not have been like larger countries, but if your population is only 900,000, percentage-wise the damage looks the same. Whole island villages were wiped away. Farms and livelihoods lost. Schools, churches and community centers destroyed. To top it off, there were tidal waves that they had warning of that washed away villages, and in some cases people. A 10-month-old baby was lost this way. The poorest and oldest and youngest were, and still are three weeks later, the most vulnerable.
But just like in Mark, the waves and winds still know Jesus’ name (Mark 4:39-41). His faithfulness held through. I was talking to a friend right after the storm, and he was telling me how God really came through for them. His village was the only one left standing in the area. None of the structures came down. A baby was born in the storm, yet with no electricity and no running water, mum and baby are both healthy. For my host family, the storm veered a little north, and so their home and other homes in the village are all right. I wish I could say the same about the last settlement we were at. However, the first thing they sent me was “To God Be the Glory!” because they had been saved, never mind their homes. No one had passed away.
I chose the verse up above because I’ve learned that when God touches your heart for something or someone, you can’t just stay silent. You pray, you tell people about it, and in some cases you do something. In this particular case, I could write an article about it. Maybe this article will resonate, maybe it will not. When God gives you a heart for something, it isn’t always easy. But He will always direct how you can act it out.
Miel can be reached via email here.