Friday, July 18, 2014

A Lament Over Flight MH17

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 28:1-2
Written by: Dr Conrade Yap
Date: July 18th, 2014
1To you, Lord, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit. 2Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. (Ps 28:1-2)

How long O Lord, will this go on?  Two disasters, two 777s, and two tragic losses of lives. 

How long O Lord, must we hear bad news after bad news? People grieving over MH370 are already having a tough time. Malaysian Airlines are reeling off an increasingly gloomy economic outlook. People are just beginning to come around feeling more safe about commercial air travel. Then came this terrible news. Flight MH17 was shot down.

Why Lord? Why must such a thing ever be allowed to happen? I suppose this question is an age-old one, but Lord, a lot of us cannot help it but ask again and again.

Why? Why? Why?

Why must Ukraine and Russia continue to fight? Why can't they simply use diplomatic channels instead of the language of bullets, guns, and missiles? Why can't You simply move among their leaders and make them talk to each other? Perhaps, You want to grant them the freedom to choose to fight or to talk. But for 298 victims, maybe it is better You had chosen to move them instead.

Why must whole families perish, like the six members from Kuching? It is cruel and gut-wrenching to see a 49-year-old dad, a 47-year-old mother, and four teens die in one crash. Life had been good for them until this day. They are now gone, leaving a vacuum in the hearts of their living loved ones.

Why must this promising doctoral student from the Netherlands die in the crash? She was one of the few Chemistry research students helping to bring about new and greater discoveries in the field of science. Yet, she is no more. She leaves behind many grieving friends at the University of Indiana, and her boyfriend.

Why must this Australian family suffer not once but twice? Both MH370 and MH17 have become tragic reminders of the risks and dangers of air travel. For all the statistics about the unlikely event of air tragedy, this family suffered not once, but twice. Statistics mean nothing when the victims end up on the wrong end of the statistical results.

Why must it be Malaysia Airlines again? Why two disasters within 6 months on the same company? It is mind-boggling, too incredible to even believe. If anyone were to predict these two events before they happen, no one would have believed. Yet it happened. It is all so horrible and so tragic.

Lord, the world's media are pasted with photos, news, analyses, and political maneuvering by all kinds of people. Few are doing anything tangible for the families and affected loved ones, apart from some brief islands of compassion amid the sea of sensational news reporting.

Help us all to pray for the families, who are grieved beyond anyone's understanding; who are forced to face the grim pictures of dead bodies raining down on the foreign soil after the blast.

Help us to pray for the support organizations and volunteers, who are trying to do their best to bring comfort to affected people.

Help us to pray for Malaysia Airlines and the people of Malaysia, that they would find strength and solidarity to be one people helping one another to go through the horrible second loss of precious lives and valuable assets. They must stick together regardless of what other nations think. They must walk through the dark valley again.

Help us to pray for the warring factions, that this incident is a clarion call to all that says: "Enough! Enough of this senseless violence! Enough of this tit-for-tat behaviour of trying to hurt and hunt one another down. For every soldier, every rebel, every government officer is also a member of a loving family; a father, a brother, a son, an uncle, a cousin, a friend, a colleague, etc.

Help us to pray for the countries who have offered help. May they keep to their promise to supply the recovery efforts, the humanitarian relief projects, and a greater resolve to work toward peace.

Help us to look at our own societies and our own lands, that war is often a bullet or a bomb away. People are naturally inclined to retaliate in kind whenever they feel victimized. Help us all to work doubly or triply hard to bring peace not just for this present generation but also for the generations to come.

Help us to keep the faith. Help us not to simply ask why the loss of MH17, but also to be thankful that there could have been more casualties, knowing that it could have been any or all of the other two planes (SQ and Virgin Atlantic) just a couple of miles away. This is hard to know that MH17 is not spared. We are perplexed. We are at a loss. We are heart-strickened by it all. Help us to recognize that amid much evil, there is still good around us. Magnify this good and diminish the evil.

Lord, we do not know how much longer, how many more lives would be killed, and how the future will pan out. we can only trust that You know best. That You are allowing tragedies to happen for some reason. Maybe, we do not have the capacity to see the big picture. Whatever it is, Lord, help us.

For we are in the dark in need of Your Light.

THOUGHT: "I believe differently now than 30 years ago. First, I do not expect to have all the answers, nor do I believe that people are really looking for them. Second, I don’t look for the hand of God to stop evil. I don’t expect comfort to come from afar. I really do believe that God enters the world through us. And even though I still have the “Why?” questions, they are not so much “Why, God?” questions. We are human and mortal. We will suffer and die. But how we are with one another in that suffering and dying makes all the difference as to whether God’s presence is felt or not and whether we are comforted or not."
(Maureen Dowd in New York Times article entitled: "Why, God?")


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