But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
Sunday, December 5, 2010—Port-au-Prince, Haiti: We left early that morning to make the circuitous drive through the rubble-strewn streets of Port-au-Prince to a tent camp a few miles outside of the earthquake-ravaged city. The Corail Camp was just one of the locations to which earthquake refugees had been moved after losing their homes to the devastating January 12 quake. More than two hundred thousand had died that day. Eleven months later, these refugees were the “lucky ones.”
Crude tents sprawled as far as the eye could see. Perhaps ten thousand people lived on this barren patch of dust and dirt, a city of victims. We watched as hundreds of people, dressed in their best white shirts and blouses, found their way through the maze of tents toward a larger tent structure—a makeshift church of scrap lumber, corrugated tin, and UN tarps with a rugged cross atop it. For more than two hours we poured out our praise—and pain—to the One who was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities and through whose wounds we are healed.
It was hard to comprehend. How, I thought, could these broken people, who had lost so much, still sing their praises to God?
One strong and dignified woman led the choir; we would later learn that her name was Demosi. She had lost both an arm and a leg in the quake, but here she was, leading the choir with energy, clapping her hand to her shoulder in praise to the Lord. What a beacon, what a light for her people.
We walked with Demosi back to her small tent where this single mother of two now lived and raised her young girls. We could detect no bitterness or depression in her. She was…grateful—grateful to God because he had spared her life. He had given her a second chance. She looked forward to receiving a prosthetic arm as she had received a prosthetic leg, to becoming a seller in the market, and perhaps to receiving one of the twenty-by-twenty slab homes World Vision was building nearby. Demosi knew there was work to be done, and she was thankful that God had given her an opportunity to do it.
Reneé asked her what she would want us to say about her to people back in America. Demosi smiled and said, “You tell them you’ve met Lazarus, and she is back from the dead!”
How does someone like Demosi demonstrate the power of the gospel? Why do you think it has had this effect on her?
Father, thank you for shining your light—your love—even in the darkest moments. Please help the gospel to transform my perspective so that your light shines through me.