It gets harder to watch the TV news. The tragic scenes from the Turkiye and Syria earthquake become more and more devastating. Human beings cannot see other people in pain and distress and feel no different; some of the pain transfers to us.

One of our gut reflexes is to look away and try not to think about it too much. And while acknowledging the tragedy, to nonetheless reason that the causes lie in failings of the governments of those lands, or that it’s simply too far away from us for us to realistically engage with. Or we might “throw” a donation in that direction to ease our sense of discomfort.

I can’t say what our responses should be; donations are meaningful and helpful, and this week Australian teams of specialist volunteers have travelled to the earthquake zone to help in the recovery and humanitarian work. And because we believe in the God of Jesus Christ, who enters into our greatest human suffering to bring us His saving grace, we pray that all who suffer will know His presence, and for God to send the help that is needed.

These are all good and important things to do. But they won’t take away the pain that we feel because the people of Turkiye and Syria are hurting. And that is actually a good and important thing. It testifies that God has placed within us a genuine love for all our neigbours. 

Grace and peace, Jonathan.