*This post isn’t really about teaching our children…but then again, maybe it is.
My heart is heavy as I write these words. This might explain my blogging absence as of late. Try as I might, I just can’t seem to find the motivation to blog about science experiments and kindergarten readiness while reflecting on the suffering around the world.
These are just a few of the many atrocities I have read about recently:
And closer to home, a sixteen-year old boy from our church who has been on a ventilator for over a month, unable to move any part of his body after suffering from a bleed in his spinal cord (of which the cause is still unknown).
People around the world are in agony. And I just don’t even know what to do about it.
I feel torn in two…conflicting emotions that seem to be waging their war inside of me. On one hand, I feel empathy and compassion for the devastating trials others are experiencing. And on the other hand, I feel guilt that I live in immense luxury (in comparison to the rest of the world) with a loving husband, healthy children, and a home where food on the table is plentiful, where there is warmth in the winter and cool in the summer.
The other emotion, the most prominent as I type these words, is that of shame. Shame at my own self-centeredness that focuses on momentary pleasures and comforts rather than the suffering of others. Although I do not believe God is the giver of shame, I do believe He at times allows us to peer behind the curtain of our hearts and see our own sin. And seeing our sin, for what it truly is, produces a repentant shame of which I cannot escape.
Each time I think about the sufferings of other half a world away and then quickly return to my own busy agenda, I am reminded about this scene from the movie Hotel Rwanda. It had such a profound impact on me from the time I saw the movie many years ago. The hotel manager, played by Don Cheadle, questions one of the journalists staying at his hotel while filming the Rwandan Genocide, asking “How can the world not intervene after seeing such atrocities?” The journalist responds, “If people see this footage, they’ll say ‘Oh my (Gosh) that’s horrible!’ and then go on eating their dinners.”
It is sobering to think how much this fits my reaction to devastating news. I think the reason I “go on eating my dinner” is not because I don’t care (although I often need to care more), I think it is because I feel powerless to help.
How do you help someone suffering half a world away, someone who you will never meet in this lifetime? What do we do?????
In light of such suffering, giving money seems like a consolation of sorts. Often our giving is from our excess, rather than a sacrifice. Prayer, of course, is the obvious answer…but it too seems distant and detached when we cannot picture the faces of those who are suffering.
I’m still processing and praying about what my response will be. But my prayer today is that God will shorten the distance between their suffering and our comfort, so that we cannot let a day go by without thinking about praying for those suffering all around the world, especially those suffering in the name of Christ himself.
So even though tomorrow might be a normal day of taking care of my family, one where I get back to “normal” blogging and deal with an assortment of “first world problems”, I pray that God will continue to lay on my heart those who are suffering. I pray that they will not be nameless, faceless statistics, but that when I look in the eyes of my precious children, that I will see the faces of children in Iraq, Syria, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere around the world desperate for the hope that only Jesus Christ can provide.
*Scroll to the bottom of this post as a starting point to how we can help those being persecuted in the Middle East.