Wednesday, April 7, 2010

He Sends Rain on the Just and the Unjust

"For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." Matthew 5:45

The rain has been pouring here for two days now, and both the just and the unjust are suffering. I bet you never thought of this verse like that before. It's referring to God's common grace, in other words, how He graciously sends rain to water the crops and replenish the land of both those who love Him and those who don't. But in the past couple of days as I watch the torrent through my front door,  I've been thinking about this verse in the opposite sense. The rain and subsequent flooding we have been experiencing here in Rio has been debilitating to both the rich and the poor, the aristocrat and the slum-dweller. God reminds us through these powerful acts of his might that HE is in control of his creation and that we are all but humble humans that cannot even make one of our own hairs turn white or black. (Matt. 5:36) Our prayer is that this disaster will cause the city to turn to Jesus. Please pray with us for that. You can click the Media and Resources link above for more video and pictures.

It all started on Monday afternoon when Giulian and I ventured out to the grocery store. As we were getting off the boat on to the mainland, the boat driver said to Giulian, "Rain my friend, 30 minutes." I guess we should have paid heed to his warning because next thing we knew there were loud cracks of thunder outside the store as we stood at the check-out line. We sat at the café for around an hour pondering what to do, but when we saw our neighbor there and she said she was walking, we knew it was our only choice. So we put plastic bags over our heads and our purchases, and we trekked out into the torrent. As we navigated down the road to the boat stop, we were at times wading through knee-deep waters on the streets. It was quite the adventure. Eventually we arrived home with our hair being the only part of our bodies to remain dry thanks to the brilliant plastic bag idea.

Not everyone has had a (relatively) dry home to settle in however. According to O Globo, there are now 119 confirmed deaths, more than 60 disappearances, and over 2,100 people have been displaced. The rescue effort continues in the midst of mudslides, particularly in the slum areas that are built on hills composed of mud and trash. Giulian and I haven't left our apartment for 48 hours so we're relying on social media,, and our local news station for updates. We know that there are some friends from the church-plant in Rio das Pedras slum that have been displaced, and we're assuming the scene in the neighborhood called Sitio in City of God where our other church-plant is also dismal. Please pray for the recovery of these neighborhoods and for the provision of the people, particularly the children, and the protection from diseases in the standing water. We'll let you know how this story unfolds and how you can pray as we hope to be on the ground soon helping with the recovery process.


1 comment:

  1. Hey guys, wow that seems like a lot to handle especially only being there for a short amount of time. But I am encouraged you guys are viewing this situation biblically and in accordance to faith in God's grace in all circumstances. That verse I have never seen in the sense of suffering but I see what you are saying and scripture isn't silent about the sufferings of both the righteous and the wicked in this fallen world. But also to view suffering in a right way can help us see all things ultimately work together for God's glory. And I pray that He uses this to bring some to salvation in Christ through His servants like you guys. May they be presented with the gospel and a promise of an eternal home where floods can never destroy. I will be praying for you guys as you show compassion and mourn with those who are mourning and use discernment to speak about Christ boldly and clearly. I will also pray for your guys' safety. Keep us updated!

    Will Chen