|Faith Cherono in Kenya|
Remember the childhood song --- "Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!"
Well this weeks "reaching" is a twist on that happy, little playful song.
Instead of "Lions and Tigers and Bears -- oh my!"
It's "Machine Guns and Shopping and God --- oh WHY?"
Isn't life so much more pleasant when we can live in the realm of happy childlike awe and wonder? There is certainly nothing wrong with seeing that beautiful, innocent, peaceful world ---- we want things to be wonderful -- all the time --- right?
But the reality of life for the majority of this world is nothing like the wonderland of beautiful homes, fine cars, well decorated rooms, and tables overflowing with food.
So what are we to do with the stark contrast?
What do we do when God wants to reach with our arms from our pleasant places of plenty into the places of suffering and pain?
This week has been a week of extremes.
Some might say, the extremes have been my own fault. After all, i don't have to allow myself to "know" or "see" these painful things, right? But that's not what my Abba says...
Joseph Kony began the LRA, Lord's Resistance Army, in 1987, 25 years ago. Joseph Kony is a monster with skin covering him that makes him appear to be human --- but he is not. His atrocities began in Northern Uganda and have since moved into Southern Sudan, Central Africa Republic, and the Congo. Over the past 25 years it is factually known, he is responsible for the abduction, rape, mutilation, and murder of thousands and thousands of children, murdering the mothers and fathers (often times forcing children to kill their own parents).
A recent video produced by Invisible Children has gone viral --- you may have already watched it (i hope so). Invisible Children is serious about seeing Joseph Kony and the LRA stopped. Regardless of how we may feel about the issue --- i'm so thankful IC is willing to at least have a loud voice and expose Joseph Kony. Too many people have been unaware of who he is and what he has been doing on the other side of the world.
To view the recent campaign against Kony click here.
|Sam Childers in Southern Sudan|
Sam Childers is a hard-living hard-core preacher from Pennsylvania who traveled to Africa to help build orphanages. When he got there, he became aware of the nightmarish work of Kony's LRA. His true life story is depicted in the movie, "Machine Gun Preacher" starring Gerard Butler. To view the movie trailer click here. Sam and his wife are dedicating their lives to saving children in Africa. Sam keeps his gun loaded with bullets to protect them --- as he fills their plates with food. Some people may think it is wrong for a "Christian" to use violence to protect the innocent from evil. I wonder how they feel about David and Goliath. I grew up loving the fact that David killed Goliath and defeated the evil "giant". I don't think of myself as a violent person --- i don't think killing is the answer. But the fact is --- if we read the Bible --- we can see where God Himself gave the order to stand against evil. I'm sticking with God ----- all the way.
Joseph Kony - machine guns - hurting children. God says to my soul, "process all these together donna, hear what i'm saying to you, don't shrink back from it and don't judge those who do..."
I know the nightmares are true for the children in Africa --- but then i find myself back here in America, going through the motions of a daily Disney World life.
Last Friday Steve and i were packing a weeks worth of errands into one day -- going from the funeral home to visit precious hurting friends, to getting the car serviced, to the computer store, to the Dr.s office, to shopping for Kweli Moyo shirts, etc.. It was a busy day --- much was getting accomplished. But something has changed inside me --- God has changed me (i certainly didn't do it). When we stepped into the store to buy shirts, my stomach rolled over at all the "stuff". People standing in lines with arm loads of "more". There were stacks and rows and piles of clothes -- any color, any style -- it was overwhelming even to me. Because i see it all now with "different eyes". I've been working for the past year at liquidating our "stuff" --- simplifying --- sharing with others --- releasing what we had previously worked so hard to acquire. Being surrounded by so much "getting" can be very hard for me now...
Am i weird?
I don't think so.
I just see things through a different lens now ---- and it actually feels very "right" inside my heart.
If we are hungry, we always have something to eat -- right?
If we are tired, we have our very own bed to sleep in, with clean sheets, warm blankets, and soft pillows --- right?
When we sleep at night, our doors and windows are locked and secure and the alarm system is set -- right?
If I'm dirty --- i can bath...which scented soap should i use?
If I'm sick --- i have medicine...which one should i choose?
If I'm thirsty -- i have drink... but filtered please, with lemon...
When will it ever be "enough"?
Why is what we have not enough, why must we always have "more"?
When will the pain of others matter more than our own pleasures?
I'm struggling with it all ---
i don't want to be the "weird lady" ---
i use to be the self-indulgent lady ---- i don't want to be her anymore -- ever again.
That lady lived in a prison called "self". It was well decorated and pretty to look at ...but still it was a suffocating self-centered cell.
God has opened the cell door and changed the lens of my heart --- now it all looks so different...
Perhaps it's just that --- "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a (wo)man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." 1 Corinthians 13:11
And now rather than be the child --- i want to help the child ---
Some people will shield their eyes from ever seeing that hurting, hungry child... but God says, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25:35-36
Oh God --- help me grab hold of your robes --- and see with your eyes.
Help me to keep my focus on what you are calling me to do --- and not sin by judging someone who looks the other way and does not let their heart be moved by the hungry, thirsty, cold, sick child.
Help me to remember --- that person is just still in their own self-prison ---- i'm no better --- it's just that i've walked out the open cell door.
Help me to love and care for the hungry, thirsty and sick ----- just as much as the one that's in prison...
If we will open our eyes to them, and let our hearts become engaged with their plight ---- we will want to help the hurting children. Yes?
But it takes GOD IN US --- to open our hearts to the person in prison --- and allow our hearts to become engaged with their plight --- and extend grace to them.
The self-centered soul ----- is in prison.
The person who says --- the hurting children on the other side of the world are not my problem --- is in prison.
The person who wants "more" and can't stop "getting" ---- is in prison.
Joseph Kony ---- is in prison too.
Oh God ---- please give us your eyes, your heart -- transform us -- make us yours...
“Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ " Matthew 35: 41-45
©2012 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe