When I saw the front page of the paper Wednesday morning splashed with horrific pictures of the earthquake in Haiti, I made an intentional decision to not get emotionally invested. Yes, it was selfish. And maybe a little heartless. The tragedy in Haiti was so all-encompassing, so devastating, so impossible to wrap my mind around that I chose to just gloss over it and hurry to the mindless "Ask Amy" column. I spent the morning diverting my thoughts until I got a call from my good friend Melanie. Her voice shaky, she asked me to start praying for her old and dear friends, Renee and David Hames. David was in Haiti working on a project for Compassion International when the earthquake hit. He and his co-worker, Dan Wooley, were unaccounted for. Their wives and small children were being surrounded by their church family. Their friends were rallying the troops to pray for a miracle for these two men. With that phone call, I became emotionally invested.
Melanie, a former public relations guru, is in her element coordinating communication and distributing it to those who are praying and waiting. Over the last three days, we have prayed and waited. Wept and celebrated. Been deflated by discouragement and filled with hope. Prayed without ceasing and felt a peace that surpasses all understanding and can only come from God.
The story has slowly unfolded and as the pieces come together, one can only marvel at God's great mercy and love for His precious children. The weekend before the men flew to Haiti, the leadership of David's church felt called to pray Psalm 91. They didn't know why, but they knew God was impressing this Psalm on their hearts. I wept as I read, "He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 'Because he loves me,' says the Lord, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.'" (vs. 4, 7, 11-12, 14)
The last week David was in Colorado, he and his wife taught the 3 year olds about Paul and Silas (Acts 16) who were unjustly thrown in prison. They were sitting in jail singing hymns (who does that?!?!) when "suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken." It's not a coincidence David and Renee would choose to teach that lesson just days before David himself would be involved in a violent earthquake.
David and Dan's story has been pieced together as information slowly trickles in. They had been out filming all day. Their driver dropped them off at Hotel Montana one minute before the earthquake hit which puts them walking through the lobby when the walls fell. Dan jumped into an elevator shaft and couldn't see David after that. Miraculously, 65 hours after the hotel crumbled on top of them, Dan Woolley and a hotel bellhop named Mondesir Luckson were rescued alive from the rubble. There are three teams working right now, 72 rescuers with 450 tons of equipment, and they know where to specifically look for David. As of this morning, they are still pulling out survivors. There is tapping and whistling, which according to Melanie, would be SO like David.
This morning has been tough for me. I'm feeling a bit like David - buried under a dark cloud of discouragement and grief. My heart is broken for a man I don't know, buried in utter darkness with no food or water for four days. For his wife who waits expectantly to find out if his life has been spared. For his children who don't even know his life is hanging in the balance. But as I write this, God reminded me of the sermon I listened to on Sunday. It's an Old Testament story from I Samuel 14. The Israelites are outnumbered hundreds of thousands to three hundred and have TWO swords for their entire army. TWO! Seems like insurmountable odds. But Prince Jonathan recognized that the God he served is bigger than insurmountable odds and confidently declared, (vs. 6) "Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few."
And so Lord Jesus, I ask that you would spare David's life. That you would cover him with your feathers and no harm would befall him. May Your name be praised for You are mighty to save, whether by many or by few.