Living in a small country like New Zealand with a population of just four million people, we are naturally very affected by any big event. The Prime Minister said “We may well be witnessing New Zealand’s darkest day.” I fear he may be right.
Today Christchurch was hit with another earthquake, this one so bad that although we are in Auckland, we feel the pain most acutely.
So many New Zealanders have friends or relatives in Christchurch. We have visited Christchurch. We have loved the beautiful city, punted on the River Avon, climbed the stairs to the top of the spire on Christchurch Cathedral, eaten lunch in Cathedral Square, had coffee in one of the fabulous cafes, ridden the tram, seen the Arts Centre. We have met homeschooling friends. We’ve travelled to the port of Lyttelton, seen the dolphins, been through the tunnel…
In a way, Christchurch is ours too. The people of Christchurch are our fellow countrymen. As New Zealanders, at this time we temporarily feel like Cantabrians. We are hurting and shocked. We are grief-stricken and emotional. We care, but we can do very little. So we huddle together and watch the horrifying story unfold on television and the Internet.
Television is showing YouTube videos of falling buildings and rocks the size of houses. Buildings are flattened, whole suburbs are flooded, fires are springing up. Beautiful old heritage buildings are destroyed, cars and buses are crushed. People are in the buses. People are in the destroyed buildings. The loss of the buildings becomes insignificant when we realise what their destruction means to the people inside them.
We become newly knowledgeable about subjects like liquefaction – where the soil becomes unstable like liquid. We chat about the Richter scale and tectonic plates. And then we hear the news we didn’t want to hear. There are deaths. At least one fatality. The number will rise. Then the number is at seventeen fatalities. At dinner time, the Prime Minister tells the country that there are 65 deaths, and that number is expected to rise. Tears are close to us all as we struggle to come to terms with the horror.
At a time like this we are comforted by our families around us. We are comforted by a loving God who cares and knows much better than we do what and why and how. Tonight, as we gathered around the table for dinner we were able to pray for the people of Christchurch who face a difficult road, and who need our support and prayers more than ever.
They have both from us.
Please feel free to use this article in any way you like – just keep it unaltered and include my name and website, thanks.