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When we look at the suffering in Burma [Myanmar] a number of facts impress us: the size of the tragedy, the readiness of the nations of the world to offer assistance, and the callous and obstinate rejection of that assistance by the military regime currently in power.

At times like this it is easy to identify with the sentiments expressed in some of the Psalms.

In Psalm 10, for example, the question is asked 'Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?'

The focus of this 'trouble' is human hard-heartedness: there is reference to arrogance, mistreatment of the weak, schemes that hold people in some form of bondage, boasting, pride, prosperity of the wicked, haughty rejection of God's laws, an over-confident assumption of immunity from trouble or accountability, threats and lies, and deliberate imposition of suffering on the innocent and vulnerable [verses 2-11].

Although puzzled over the arrogance of the wicked who think they can escape God's judgement [verse 13], David is utterly confident in the ability and willingness of God to address the situation: God does see the trouble and the grief, he does take it into account, he is the helper and defender of the fatherless, he is the eternal King who has the power to demolish nations, he hears the desires of the afflicted, encouraging them, listening to their cries [verses 14-18].

We do not know how God will respond to the situation in Myanmar. We do not know the good that he will bring out of this disaster, but we can with good conscience join in prayer on behalf of  the suffering survivers of this tragedy: 'Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. ...  Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness.' [Verses 12 and 15]

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2008

For information on the nation of Myanmar go to: