Posted by: Bobby Desulme | February 8, 2010

Haiti: a symbol of hope

The month of January has been an emotional roller coaster for me and my family, since I am a young Canadian of Haitian origin. After hearing the comments made by Pat Robertson, many of my Haitian friends wondered if we were a cursed people. I also thought we were being punished after hearing that two of my family members passed away.

It is hard to see the plan that God has for us when looking at images of millions of inert bodies laying on the streets. For days, my family and I watched television and surfed the internet to stay informed.  We kept seeing images of Port-Au-Prince where bodies of men, women and even babies were being thrown in gigantic pits. Images such as these makes all of us wonder what role God plays in such circumstances. Earthquakes are natural disasters and I do not think that they are used by God to punish human beings.

Many might be familiar with John 3:16–For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son–but not many people are familiar with the verses that come before verse 16. In verse 14, Jesus makes reference to a serpent lifted up in the wilderness by Moses and says that He, the son of man, will also have to be lifted up. In order to truly understand what Jesus is saying, it is important to know what serpent Jesus is taking about.

In the book of Exodus, the people of Israel are guided by Moses through the wilderness to reach the land God promised them. At one point during the journey, the people of Israel are attacked by venomous serpents and numerous people die. To all, these serpents are sent by God to punish the people because many of them were speaking against Moses. At this moment, God tells Moses to make a bronze serpent. God tells Moses that whenever he would lift the bronze serpent in the air, anyone in Israel who had been bitten by a venomous serpent would be cured instantly by looking at the bronze serpent.

When I first heard this story, I found it interesting that God would ask Moses to make a serpent out of the bronze. The people of Israel had been bitten by serpents and many of them died because of these venomous animals. God used an animal that symbolized death at this time to the Israelites and made it a symbol of healing and life.

The earthquake in Haiti killed thousands of people and this whole event was to me a symbol of death. I quickly had a change of heart after seeing the international help that Haiti was receiving. Organizations such as the Red Cross, UNICEF and YÉLÉ were doing whatever they could to collect money and provide as much help as possible to survivors. I remember getting emails and phone calls from friends and loved ones asking about my family and sending me encouraging words. All the news I got from Haiti involved people helping and volunteering everywhere on the island.

Every Friday evening some members of the Christian Association and other volunteers work with children from 1st to 6th grade at various Philadelphia schools in a program called “Peacemaking through the arts”. This past week, the children had the opportunity to make care packages to send to children in Haiti.

Jesus was lifted up on a cross at the end of his life on earth. The cross was an instrument used by the Romans to kill. For many Christians today, the cross is seen today as a sign of hope and a symbol of life. The serpents had bitten and killed many Israelites and still, they were all looking at a bronze serpent to be healed. Haiti was to me a symbol of misery and desolation. Today, Haiti is a place where all can see human beings united to save, help and serve. What was once a symbol of death and desperation to me is looking more and more like an opportunity to demonstrate love.



  1. Je cherchais un message de réconfort, vu que Béa est en route pour Haiti, ne lisant cet article je l’ai trouvé. Mercie, continue ton bon travail. God Bless!
    Renelle D

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