After the Earthquake

Outline: Four Bible stories to help sufferers of natural disasters to find hope for the future even in the midst of suffering. Presents the sufferings of Jesus on our behalf.

Script Number:479
Language:English
Theme:Repentance; Leaving old way, begin new way; Death of Christ; Honor God; Jesus, Our Substitute; Trauma
Audience:Hindu; Buddhist (Tibetan)
Style:Dialog
Genre:Bible Story
Sophistication:General
Purpose:Evangelism
Bible Quotation:Paraphrase
Status:Approved

Scripts are basic guidelines for translation and recording into other languages. They should be adapted as necessary to make them understandable and relevant for each different culture and language. Some terms and concepts used may need more explanation or even be replaced or omitted completely.

Script Text

{The script is a dialogue. Ideally three voices will be used. Voice one (V1) is the main (default) voice. Voice 2 (V2) is the enquirer. Voice 3 (V3) is optional but can be used to announce sections in the program.}

(Brief musical introduction perhaps with the 'breaking news story of the earthquake')

V1. One minute is not a long time, but when the earth shook it took less than one (a) minute to bring hundreds of buildings crashing down. In less than one minute thousands of homes and many villages were destroy. In less than one minute thousands of people died. Many who survived felt lost, hopeless and afraid. Plans and hopes for the future were shattered (destroyed).

Many are still suffering, especially those who lost loved ones (whose family died). Some people labour (are trying) to rebuild. Others have lost hope. There is fear and uncertainty in many hearts. Many are asking, “why, why, why?”
Why did it happen? Why have we suffered so much? What have we done to deserve this? Why did our gods let this happen? Is there a reason? Can we know what it is? Will it happen again? Is there any hope for the future? Can we ever feel safe again?

There are no easy answers, but there are some important things to think about. There is hope. There is a future. Keep listening and you may find hope and strength for the future. You may even find some answers for your questions.
These messages of hope are based on what the Creator God Himself has told us. God's message is recorded in a special book that Christians call the Bible. You may not be a Christian or understand much about Christianity, but listen anyway. God may speak to you through these messages. {Instrumental break}

V2. Can you help me, my friend? When the earthquake came I was so afraid. I still get anxious when my children are away from me. I can't help but think that the gods must be very angry with us for this to happen. Do you think that the earthquake was the judgement of the gods on Nepal (my country/people)? Or was it just the wheel of fate bringing judgement because we deserved it?

V1. It is true that when bad things happen people often think that some god is angry and judging them. Others believe that it is just blind fate.

But to answer your question, I will tell you a true story. It is a story from the Bible and it is about Jesus, God's special messenger. People asked Jesus about suffering and about God's judgement also.

Jesus was a great teacher and story teller. People loved to come and listen to Him. He spoke words of wisdom from the one true God. He spoke words of comfort and hope. Sometimes, He spoke words of warning. The words He spoke a long time ago are very important for us today.

One time [On one occasion] people started telling Jesus about terrible things that had happened to some people in another city. At that time a governor had been very cruel and tortured and killed many people.

Jesus said to them, “Do you think that those people were worse than others from that place because they suffered in this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will die. Did you hear the news about the tower that fell on 18 people and killed them? Do you think that those who died were guiltier than all the other people living in that place? I tell you, no! They were not worse people than anyone else. But unless you repent, you too will all die (perish).”

{If being recorded in Nepal – If Jesus were here now He might say, “What about the many people who died when the Dharahara Tower fell on them? Were they worse than anyone else? No! They were not worse than anyone else. But unless you repent, you too will die (perish).”}

V2. What does this mean?

V1. Jesus explained very clearly that when bad things happen to someone, it does not mean they are worse people than others. It does not mean that they deserve to be punished more than other people. But He did tell them to look at suffering as a warning, a warning to be ready at any time to face God. God is the final judge. He will decide our fate forever. His judgement will depend on whether we have listened to His word and obeyed it.

In our world sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes evil people seem to live a long and happy life. We think it is unfair. But God says that in the end we will all die and face Him. At that time He will decide to reward or punish us. So we must be ready for that. That is why Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you too will all die (perish).”

V2. Does this mean if I repent I will never die? If that is true, I need to know what it means to repent.*

V1. I'll tell you soon* what it means to repent but no, it doesn't mean that you will never die. Everybody dies, sooner or later. Jesus was talking about spiritual death, which is separation from God for ever. That's what happens if we don't repent.

V2. Well, I still want to know what 'repent' means.*

V1. It is very important that you do understand this. I'll tell you very soon,* but it will be helpful to think a little more about suffering first. {Instrumental break}

V3. The Man Born Blind

V1. One day as Jesus was walking along with his friends (companions), they saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Teacher,” His friends (companions) asked, “Why was this man born blind? Was it because of the wrong things he did, or because of the wrong things that his parents had done?”

Jesus’ friends (companions) thought that if something so bad had happened to the man, there must be a reason (cause). He or his family must have done something very bad. Some people might think that the man had done wrong things in a previous life.

But Jesus answered, “It was not because of what this man had done or because of what his parents had done. This man was born blind so that the power of God could be seen in him.”

Then Jesus did something very unusual (strange). He spat on the ground and made some mud. He spread the mud on the man's eyes and sent him to a pool to wash the mud off. When the man washed off the mud he could see! His sight had been restored. He was healed.{(Details can be omitted if spitting is very repugnant to this language group}.

When people who knew the man saw what had happened they were amazed and could not understand how the man was healed. But he kept on explaining how Jesus had made the mud, spread it on his eyes and told him to wash it off, and when he did, he could see!

In this story, God had allowed the man to be born blind for a special reason. It was so that God's great power would be seen when Jesus healed him and people would praise God. And that is what happened.

V2 That's a very interesting story, but tell me, do all bad things happen so that people will see God's power?

V1. Certainly not!* (No, not all of them). In the Bible there are many other stories that also teach us about suffering. You need to hear the story of Job. This story happened a long, long time ago.

{music break – brief, maybe with sound of sheep and goats fading into first paragraph}

V3. The Story of Job

V1. Job was a very rich man. He had 7 sons, 3 daughters and many servants. He also owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen and 500 donkeys. (If these animals are not known say something like 'Job had many large herds of animals'. Use appropriate numbers or descriptors).

Job was a very good man. He worshipped God and always tried to please Him. But one day disaster struck and many terrible things happened to Job.

Firstly, foreigners came and raided his farms. They stole all his cattle and donkeys and killed his farm workers. After that, a sudden fire fell from the sky and burned up all his sheep and the shepherds. Then another band of raiders stole his camels and killed those who looked after them. Finally, a freak (great/very unusual...) wind storm came and flattened the house where Job’s sons and daughters were gathered. They were all killed.

When Job heard all this news, he was very upset [devastated]. He tore his clothes in his sadness. He shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship God. He said, “I brought nothing into the work when I was born and I will take nothing with me when I die. The Lord gave me what I had and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord.”

The story of Job does not explain the reason for suffering. It does not explain why bad things happen to us. But it does make it clear that God allows suffering to happen and He has a purpose in everything that happens – even if we cannot understand it.

V2. But knowing that God allows suffering does not comfort me. I want to know why the suffering happens.

V1. Human suffering is a very difficult subject. The better we know God the better we can understand His purposes. Perhaps this next story will help you understand. {Music break}

V3. The Suffering of Jesus

V1. This is the true story about Jesus Himself. I'm not going to tell you* the whole story (life of Jesus) now. It would take a long time. I'll just tell you some parts of the story. The whole story can be found in the Bible.

In the beginning, when God made people, He gave them special instructions. But the first people did not want to listen to God's instructions. They rebelled against (disobeyed) God and dishonoured him. Because of their rebellion they were separated from God. Life became very hard. The people felt great shame. Sickness, pain and death come into the world. This was God's judgement on people for their rebellion. The whole world was affected, and there was nothing that anyone could do to make the situation right.

This is why Jesus came into the world. He came from God and He came to start putting right all that had gone wrong when people rebelled against God. He was God's special messenger and He came to show us what God is like. He came to show us God's love and to teach us God's truth. He came to help us know God. He came to open the way for us to become friends with God.

Jesus came to restore our relationship to God. To do that, He took the punishment upon Himself that all people deserve for rebelling against God. Just like the first people, we also have rebelled against God. We have dishonoured God and chosen to ignore His instructions. We have chosen our own way and ignored God's way. We deserve God's punishment, but Jesus took our punishment upon Himself. He suffered and died in our place.

He suffered greatly (terribly). He suffered physically when he was nailed to a wooden cross and left to die. He suffered spiritually and emotionally when he took upon Himself the pain of separation from God, and endured the judgement of God.

He suffered for you and me and for all people. He knows what it is like to suffer and die a painful death. He knows how it feels when those we love die and are taken from us. Because He loved us, He suffered so that we would not need to suffer for our rebellion against God. If we believe in Him and follow Him, we will not face punishment after this life. We will experience His joy and peace forever.

In the Bible it says, “God loved the world so much that He sent His only son (Jesus) so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”

V2. That sounds really amazing! But how can we know that Jesus’ suffering helps us? He died.

V1. That's a good question. We can know that Jesus’ suffering helps us, and we can experience His help now, because Jesus did not stay dead!

On the third day after He was nailed to the cross and died, God raised Him back to life. He was seen by many people. He often spoke with His friends (companions). He said, “Don't be afraid. I will be with you always. I will help you, and after this life I will take you to be with myself forever. Trust in me.”

Jesus suffered in our place so that we would not need to suffer God's punishment. He rose from the dead so that we could share His life forever.

This is the most important story every told, and it is all true.

V2 It is an amazing story. Who would think that suffering could have such a purpose?

V1 Do you remember the story about those who died when the tower fell on them and Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you too will die”? Disaster comes to us as a warning. It is a reminder that one day we will all die, and we must be ready.

V2. Yes, I remember, but you still haven't told me what it means to repent.*

V1. I'll explain it now – with another story.* This is a story that Jesus told to explain repentance and God's love.
{Musical break}

V3 The Father and His Two Sons.

V1. Once there was a wealthy man who had two sons. One day the younger son came to his father and said, “Father, I don't want to wait until you die to get my share of the inheritance. Give it to me now so I can go and enjoy myself.”
The father was sad because his son had acted so shamefully and wanted to leave him. But he gave his son all that he asked for. (If this makes it appear that the father was not wise, say something like, “he gave his son his part.”) Soon after, the younger son left and went off to the big city, far away from his father.

This son was determined to have a good time. He bought whatever he wanted and wasted his money on wild living. (Elaborate as appropriate). But then his money ran out. Everyone who had been his friend while he had money now deserted (left) him. {Use this sentence with discretion, as it is not in the Bible}.

There was a great famine in the land. Food became scarce and expensive. The young man needed a job but could not get one. He became desperate. At last he got a job. It was a dirty, disgusting job feeding pigs. But it didn't pay very much. He was so hungry that he wanted to eat the pig food but he could not.

At last he realised what a fool he had been. He thought to himself, “Even my father’s servants are better off than I am. What have I done? I will go to my father and say 'Father, I'm sorry; I have sinned against you and against heaven. I am not worthy to be your son. Please make me one of your hired servants.'” And he started the long journey back home.
{brief music?}

Ever since the boy had left home, the father had been waiting, hoping that the boy would return. Every day, he would look down the road hoping to see his son. Then one day, he saw his son in the distance. The father ran towards him.
When the father came close, his son started to speak, “Father I'm sorry! I don't deserve to be your son...” But the father embraced him, even though the son was dirty and smelly.

The father interrupted the boy (did not let him continue speaking) and called to a servant, “Quick, bring a robe for my son and a ring for his finger! Prepare the finest food, because we are going to have a feast to celebrate the return of my son.”

Later, while the party (feast/celebration) was going on, the older brother came in from the fields. When he heard what was going on he complained to his father. “This son of yours wasted your money on prostitutes. Now when he comes home, you put on a feast for him. But you have never given me anything to celebrate with my friends.”

The father said to him, “My son, all I have is yours. But this, your younger brother, was lost and now he is found. He was dead and is now alive. We must celebrate!”

The story does not tell us what the older son did then. But the younger son – the one who wasted his father's money, shows us what it means to repent.

It means to become humble [humble oneself] and to admit “I was wrong.” It means I must be sorry for the ways I have dishonoured and disobeyed God. It means I must be willing to change. I must be willing to stop living to please myself, and live to please God.

This can be a hard thing to do. But here is the good news. If we are sincere [If our repentance is genuine], God helps us. He changes us 'inside' so that we want to please Him. He helps us become a follower of Jesus. When we repent like this, God saves us from being separated from Him forever, just like Jesus said.

V2. But how do we know that God will accept us?

V1. The father in the story shows us what God is like. God loves us even when we rebel against Him. The story shows that God is willing and waiting to forgive us. He is willing to take us back, to make us His children, when we repent and turn back to Him.

V2. This is wonderful news. I certainly want to be saved in this way. But why doesn't everyone turn back to God?

V1. That's a good question. Many people are like the older son in the story. They think they are already good enough for God. These people think their own efforts, good works and religious rituals and activities make them good enough for God. When people think they can be good enough for God by their own efforts, they are not willing to accept His forgiveness and love. In the end, they stay separated from God. {Brief musical break}

It is true that in this life we will face many challenges – some big and some small. Whatever problems we face - an earthquake, a famine, sickness or something else - God wants us to realise our need of Him. He wants us to come to Him for help. He wants us to repent, to turn to Him and ask Him for help. He wants us to receive His love and mercy. He wants us to trust Jesus and follow Him. When we do that, we become part of God's family. We find our purpose in this life. God promises that He will help us face our problems and after this life, He will take us to be with Himself for ever.
Don't let your suffering and troubles drive you away from God. Let them draw you towards God.

If you need more help to know Jesus, talk to the person who gave you this recording or seek out a pastor or Christian friend. You can even just talk to Jesus. You can't see Him, but He will hear you. Tell Him you are sorry that you have not lived His way and that you want to live for Him. Ask Him to forgive you for all the wrong you have done and for having gone your own way. Tell Him that you believe that He suffered and died for you, and ask Him to come into your life and make you a new person.

Then when you have done that, make sure that you find some others who follow Jesus so that you can encourage each other to learn about Jesus and live His way. {Music}

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NOTES:
* BE CAREFUL not to show disrespect to V2 in the answers to his/her questions.

This script was written following the earthquake in Nepal. However, it could be modified to respond to other similar disasters and tragedies. It could be called e.g. After the flood, storm, fire etc. Optional script titles for use in different contexts: “When tragedy strikes” or “When suffering comes.”
(The following is a simpler monolog version of this trauma program, for natural disasters, divided into 3 scripts which if needed could stand alone.)

TRAUMA PROGRAM - SCRIPT 1

“IS GOD JUDGING US?”

Do you remember when the earthquake (typhoon, cyclone, flood etc) happened? There was not much warning. It destroyed houses and villages. It killed a lot of people. The lives of those who survived have been changed for ever. Their hopes and dreams for the future have been destroyed.

Many people are still suffering. They are trying to rebuild their lives. However, they now have no hope. Many people are living in fear.

What about you? Are you feeling sad or sorry because someone you know has died like that?

When bad things happen, people ask questions like this: Why did it happen? Why has our country suffered so much? Why has this happened to me and my people? Is there any hope for the future?

What you will hear can give you hope. It will give some answers to these questions. There is One Who has the answers. He is the God who created heaven and earth. He is the highest and most powerful God. When God wanted people on earth to know Him, he sent His Son Jesus to earth. Jesus came and healed many people of diseases. He did many miracles that showed the people that He came from God.

Jesus was a great teacher. He told true stories. People loved to come and hear Him speaking. He spoke the truth from God. He spoke words of comfort and hope.

Sometimes He spoke words of warning. Jesus even warned people that there would be earthquakes in many places on the earth. What Jesus said long ago is happening now.

When these disasters happen, people are afraid. They ask many questions like this: Is this God’s judgement on us? Is God angry with us?

In the days when Jesus lived on earth, many people suffered greatly. One day Jesus’ followers came to Him. They told Him about a terrible thing that happened to some people in another city. Jesus asked His followers, “Do you think those people were worse sinners because they suffered like that? I am telling you they were not worse sinners. Now think about this. If you do not repent, you too will perish.”

Then Jesus said, “You know about the people who died when the tower fell on them. Were they more guilty that all the other people in Jerusalem? No. they were not more guilty.”

Then Jesus repeated His words, “Unless you repent, you too will die.”

(Romans 3:23, 24) “Everyone has sinned. We all fall short of God’s standard.”

Believe in Jesus, and you will be free from the penalty your sins deserve. God will declare you to have a right relationship with Him.

TRAUMA PROGRAM - SCRIPT 2

“SUFFERING IS SOMETIMES PERMITTED”

Many times when something bad happens, people think they are being punished. They ask, “What wrong have I done that I am being punished for?”

That is not why bad events happen.

When bad things happen some people think God is judging them.

But Jesus taught clearly. When bad events happen to some people it does not mean they are worse than other people. It does not mean they deserve punishment. Jesus did say that people should listen to the warning. Be ready at any time to face God and be judged.

Listen to this story from the Bible. It is a story about a man named Job.

Job was a very rich man. He had 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 teams of oxen and 500 donkeys. (alternate – He had more farm animals than most other people.)

He had many servants. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters. He was very rich.

He was a very good man who worshipped God. He always tried to please God in all he did. But many terrible things happened to him. It happened in this way.

God’s enemy Satan saw that Job was very rich. Satan talked to God like this: “Job only worships You because You gave him all these things. If he did not have them, he would turn away from You.” God gave Satan permission to test Job. So Satan tested Job.

First, some people stole all his oxen and donkeys and killed Job’s servants who looked after them. Then a violent storm came and killed all his sheep and the servants who looked after them. Some other people came and stole all his camels and killed the servants who looked after them. All of Job’s children were in a house feasting together. A very strong wind came and blew the house down, killing all his children. All these things happened around the same time. This is how Job was tested.

When Job was told all these things he tore his clothes. He shaved his head in sadness. Then he fell to the ground and worshiped God. He said, “I came from my mother’s womb naked. I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had. The Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord.”

In this way Job did not sin. He did not blame God for what had happened.

The story of Job helps us to know that not all suffering comes from God. The story of Job does not explain the purpose of suffering. It does not explain why bad things happen to us. But it does make it clear that God does have a purpose in everything that happens. We may not understand what it is at the time.

Now, listen to this story about the life of Jesus. Jesus came from God. He was God’s special messenger. He came to show us what God is like. He came to show us God’s love and to teach us God’s truth. He came to help us know God and to open the way for us to become friends with God.

This was necessary for this reason: right at the beginning of creation (time) the people disobeyed God. They became separated from God. As a result, we all became separated from God. We are afraid of Him. We feel shame in His presence. We cannot make ourselves right with God. We must repent and ask Jesus to come into our lives.

Jesus lived a perfect life. He never did anything wrong. Jesus came to make a way so that we can be made right with God. We have broken God’s law and dishonoured Him. Jesus took the blame and the punishment for our rebellion. The physical suffering He was given was to be nailed to a wooden cross and left to die. When this happened He suffered God’s judgment for our sin. This meant being separated from God His Father and having to go to hell. Because He was without sin and He is God’s Son, hell could not hold Him.

Jesus defeated Satan, sin and hell, and rose to life again. Now He lives forever with God.

Jesus suffered for you and me and for all people. He knows what it is like to suffer and die. He suffered so that we would not need to suffer for our rebellion against God. If we believe and follow Him we will not need to face punishment after this life. We will experience His joy and peace now. This is the most important story ever told and it is all true.

We must agree that we are sinful and want to turn away from our sinful ways. We must ask Jesus to take control of our lives. That is what it means to repent.

TRAUMA PROGRAM – SCRIPT 3

“WHAT IT MEANS TO REPENT”

I told you a story about a tower that fell down and killed many people. When Jesus remembered this story he said, “Unless you repent you too will die.”

Disaster comes to us when we are not expecting it. However, disaster is a warning to us. It is a reminder that one day we will all die and we must be ready to face judgement.

Sometimes we are not hearing God’s quiet voice. He wants to get our attention. Pain and suffering can do that. Even though God loves us so much, He is willing to allow us to suffer so we will turn to Him for help.

What does it mean to repent? Here is a story that Jesus told that will help us understand. It shows us a great truth about God.

Once there was a wealthy man who had two sons. One day the youngest son came to his father. He spoke to his father in a very disrespectful way. “Father, I don’t want to wait until you die to get my inheritance. Give me my inheritance now so I can go and enjoy myself.”

The father was very sad that his son acted in this shameful way. However, he did what his son had asked. He gave the son his inheritance. Soon after that the young son left and went to another country. Over there he wasted his money. He lived a wild life and spent all his money. When his money was finished he was all alone.

Around this time a severe famine came. The young man tried to get work but no-one would give him a job. Finally, he was given a job by one man. The job was to feed the pigs. The young man was so hungry that even the food he was giving to the pigs looked good to him. No one gave him anything. Finally he changed his mind and repented.

He thought to himself. “My father’s servants have a better life than I do. I will return to my father and say that I am sorry. I will tell him I have sinned against him and against God. I will tell him I am not worthy to be his son. I will ask him to allow me to be one of his servants.” That is what the young son thought.

So he began to make his way home to his father.

Ever since the young son had left home his father had looked out for him every day. One day he saw his son coming along the road. He ran to his son and embraced him.

The young son began to speak to his father. “Father, I am sorry. I do not deserve to be your son.” The father interrupted him. He called to a servant. “Quick, bring a robe for my son and a ring for his finger. Prepare the special animal** we have been fattening for a feast. We are going to celebrate the return of my son.”

That night after the celebration had started the older son came in from the fields. He did not know that his young brother had returned home. When he learned what was happening he complained to his father. “This son of yours wasted your money on prostitutes. Now he has come home and you kill the special animal** for him. You have never given me even a goat** to celebrate with my friends.”

The father said to him. “My son, all I have is yours. But this your brother was lost and now he is found. He was dead and is now alive. We must celebrate.”

The younger son demonstrates for us what repentance means.

It means admitting “I was wrong.” It means being sorry for the way we have dishonoured and disobeyed God. It means being willing to change. It means being willing to leave our old ways of life and become a servant of God.

The older son shows us the attitude of those people who think they are good enough through their own efforts. They cannot and do not accept God’s love for them and the forgiveness He promises. Some people think that when they sin they have to make a sacrifice to God. No sacrifices we make can take away our sin.

There is only one sacrifice for our sin and that is Jesus.

The father shows us something about God. It shows how He loves us even when we rebel against Him. It shows that He is willing to offer us forgiveness. He is waiting to forgive us and make us His children. To receive this forgiveness we must repent and turn to Him. If we do not repent and follow Jesus we will be separated from God for ever. We will suffer in hell for ever if we do not choose to repent.

Hard things are likely to happen to us at any time. Whether that is earthquake, storm, famine, sickness or some other problem, God wants us to realise our need of Him. He wants us to come back to Him. He wants us to repent and to receive His love and mercy. He wants us to come to know Him. He wants us to find purpose in our lives. He wants us to receive life that lasts for ever. He wants us to be with Him for ever.

If we are already followers of Jesus and hard times come on us, He gives us the help we need to go through the hard time. He gives us a peace in our lives that we are His children and He will look after us.

Jesus gave this promise in the Bible (John 3:16): “This is how God loved the world. He gave His only Son, Jesus. Everyone who believes in Him will not die but have eternal life.” What will you choose?

** Check carefully whether killing an animal for food is acceptable in this culture. If not, use the section from the first script version, which avoids this problem.