He would be pleading for prayer and help on behalf of the people of Myanmar (Burma).
While the headlines in the United States continue to be about politics and power, thousands of people across the planet in a secluded country have perished. In one of the least developed countries of the world, the latest report is that 15,000 23,000 100,000 people died as a tropical cyclone slammed on “the golden shore” of Myanmar–the country that once was the home of the great missionary Adoniram Judson. With little infrastructure and the increasing threat of more death through contaminated water, shortage in food supply, and prevalence of snakes and mosquitoes, this country of more than 47 million is experiencing Hurricane Katrina more than five times over yet are but a passing thought for most of us in the West.
To be clear, this is not a public service announcement to invoke a feeling of guilt or temporary sadness for these people whom we struggle to see as more than a statistic. They are people made in the image of God–people who now are without fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, friends and family–and these people need our prayers and support.
In 1966, all the missionaries were kicked out of Burma, and the latest report is that the country indigenous church continues to grow despite great opposition and persecution. In such a time of colossal disaster, perhaps this country who gave followers of Christ the boot will accept the offer of a lending hand from loving hearts. Let us pray that there will be many opportunities to show the love of Christ to many who have lost all save their own lives (and perhaps would rather have lost that as well). In the incredible presence of death and despair, the Burmese people need the hope of the resurrection, the promise of life eternal, and the gospel comfort in the midst the chaos that cyclones bring.
As I think about the Burmese people, I try to picture a wandering child who lost his mother, a grandmother stranded on a rice field turned mortuary, a father holding on to a lifeless daughter. While I cannot grasp their reality, I can grasp the reality of Jesus Christ who will make Himself known through His people in such a time as this. He did it in centuries past through men like Adoniram Judson. Let us pray that He will do it today, even now, that the Burmese people may know Him who is the resurrection and the life, and in Him, find peace in the midst of the greatest storm of their lives.
Perhaps you are wondering what the message of Christianity has to say to those suffering and experiencing great loss. Is there more to this life than the here and now? Is there anything that endures beyond the grave? In times like this, whether you are experiencing intense grief or watching from afar, these questions inevitably arise. Allow me to encourage you to consider the message of Jesus Christ who came to give us victory over death, hope in his resurrection, and comfort in his presence.