After the New Zealand quake: How can I help?

Originally appeared on

Who am I to think that I can do anything to help those in New Zealand? That question taunted me during the night and into the next morning, after learning about the earthquake in Christchurch on February 22. This mocking question stymied me and became an obstacle to effective prayer.

In the midst of an all-day meeting that Tuesday, I received an e-mail from a friend whose daughter lives in New Zealand. She was letting a group of us know that her daughter got out of her flat safely, despite its being surrounded by rubble following the earthquake. The e-mail to her group of friends also included an acknowledgment that we would include her daughter, and all New Zealand, in our prayers. Even during the meeting I was in, I began silently praying. At that moment, these words from Hymn 86 from the Christian Science Hymnal flooded my consciousness: “God is on the field, although / He seems invisible.” I sent my friend a note of comfort with this quotation.

These particular words seemed a message sent from God for my friend. They are the same words that had come to me just before turning out the lights and going to sleep on September 10, 2001. I had clung to their promise for the next several days as I tried to pray my way clear of the fear, anger, confusion, and myriad emotions that swept over me, my city, my nation, and the world, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11. Events like these challenge our faith and spiritual resolve. They raise the question “Where is God?”

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.