Horrific things happen in our world everyday... we just don't always know about them. So, the story of a young orphaned girl in Africa... of her loss, her starvation, her rape, her healing, her joy, her God... might just shock you. But, don't you think we need to be shocked once in a while?
I read it only days after our incredibly discouraging news (previous post). I can honestly say that I was doing great until I read this book. God has given such peace about all this stuff. BUT, reading this book made me so aware that this world is full of evil, and suffering, and greed... (and yet hope and goodness too). I saw Liberia in this book. I saw its tragedies, its hundreds of thousands of massacred people during the civil war, its parent-less children starving and without clothes, death becoming normal and everyday. I saw Haiti in this book, with its death and disaster, starvation, orphans, and the big ugly NGOs. And yet it wasn't about Liberia or war or Haiti or earthquakes. There are so many tragic stories to tell.
I was so heavy after reading this book. OK- try to believe me when I say that this book was not depressing to me... it just broke my heart a little more for the people that Jesus loves so fiercely on the other side of the world. It's OK though, I want to be broken for them. I want to care. But man, that heaviness was intense. All I could think about was how shallow and greedy we are as a country. How all of our media tells is we need the "perfect" figure, and the whitest teeth, and the best portfolio, and the most stunning car... that those are the important things. And we believe them. Sick.
We're so blind. The enemy has made us impotent with greed and vanity and pride. There are millions upon millions of people in this world with nothing. Literally, nothing. And we are too self-absorbed to care.
I don't want top be comfortable here anymore. This place is not my home, and it is so messed up that I should most definitely NOT be comfortable here. Sadly though, I am. I like my warm and peaceful home. I like getting highlights in my hair from my friend. I like to buy things other than rice at the grocery store. I like books... shelves and shelves of them. I like my life, and I like it to be easy. It's nice. And you know what? I'm thankful for it. I know that I am blessed beyond belief to live as I do. I am not to be ashamed that God has given me much. But I should be, if I have a tightly-curled fist, and cannot open it and give freely and liberally to those in need.
He has given me a rich abundance. I need to know that if I were there... seeing that 13 month old that weighs 5 pounds (http://becausehecalled.blogspot.com/2010/02/never.html), I would ACT. I would do whatever I could to save him. I need to know that if I were there... seeing entire villages full of people dying of AIDS, that I would hold their hands and take care of the children they leave behind.
I need to know that I could be courageous and strong, giving every last penny I had and every last tear I knew how to cry, if it meant I could help them. But you know what I wanted to do after 2 days of extreme burden for these situations? I wanted to escape and go get a mocha. I wanted to take a vacation to some hot place where I could get away and pretend it doesn't exist. I wanted to forget. It's so hard to carry that load! It's so hard to care when it seems nothing ever changes, and when corruption and power and greed reign. It's so hard to live in freedom when that heaviness seems more than I know how to take. And I'm not even facing it eye-to-eye!
Anyway, I want to be ready to act and give and go wherever the Lord leads. I guess I just wanted to process some of this, and challenge you to process it with me. The heaviness has lifted in the last several days... I am thankful. But I don't want to forget. Reality is scary and heavy and evil at times. But if I pretend that it isn't real, that doesn't make it so. My difficulty is being here, and living to the fullest where God has me, while at the same time, not being like the world. I don't want to judge others for not feeling like I do, or for being naive or ignorant of these things (because I have been for most of my life!), and yet I do feel the desire to wake them up! Certainly, Jesus wants us awake to the suffering of his people, be they in Africa, China, or right in our neighborhoods. Jesus in us is their hope and their light, and we need hearts that are willing and eager to love and serve them.
My struggle: How do I live here and enjoy the life God has given me... and still remain passionate about things I don't see everyday, things that cause me heartache and anguish, without shutting down? I want the Lord to show me.
I think you can read Scared for free here:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/26338420/Scared-By-Tom-Davis-Full-Book, otherwise, it's at the library.
Other challenging reads by Tom. C Davis:
Fields of the Fatherless
Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds