See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. ~Paul to his friends in Thessalonica
Stuff tumbles around in my brain all the time. This week as I was helping a student proofread a paper, I made him change the word “stuff” for something more descriptive and here I am, in all my hypocrisy, using “stuff” to describe the content of my thoughts. But truly, without training and focus, all that tumbles and jumbles around up there is stuff. Anyway, along with the stuff, are constant ponderings and musings about how to better live out all I profess to believe. One way is to look outside myself and my surroundings and so I try to read news from around the world–daily–and written from a non-American vantage point. In my daily wanderings, I continue to be confronted with the pain and suffering in CAR (Central African Republic). Even after reading several articles, it’s hard to get a grasp on what’s exactly happening, but the bottom line is, there’s unrest and bloodshed and fear. Whole villages are in hiding.
And I sit in my warm house on this freezing (-14 degrees F) cold day drinking my hot cup of coffee and baking yummy bread. And I have no fear. And I have no physical need. And I wonder two things: 1) What a charmed, blessed life I live simply because of where I was born–and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and sadness at the unjust-ness of it all and 2) How on earth can I help ease suffering an ocean away? The obvious comes to mind–send money and support justice wherever it can be found. But that doesn’t feel like enough.
How do you enter in and help when you live on another continent?
Some people are called and can and do physically go…to Africa…to Haiti…to the Philippines. But what about those of us, who, for many reasons don’t go?
Standing at my kitchen sink this morning, as I thought about my own kids coming home for a few hours today and the meal we’ll share, I started thinking about those moms in CAR and started praying for them. Praying for their hearts and minds and safety… praying for food and water and clothing and protection for their bodies and souls. And the tears came as I tried to enter into their unimaginable pain. And it still feels like not enough. Simply not enough. I’m reminded of Paul’s words to the Romans: Be happy with those who are happy and weep those who weep. Just a few sentences earlier, he tells them to Let love be genuine. Oswald Chambers, preacher and author of My Utmost for His Highest, writes, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” I believe God wants us to pray. I believe He hears and responds to our prayers. I believe He calls us (me) to pray. So I pray. And weep. Knowing I’ll probably never see how He answers the prayers and never know directly who I’m praying for. But I’ll pray, knowing I serve a Good God who not only sees those dear souls in CAR but loves them and weeps with them as they suffer.
The Lord is close to all who call on him,
yes, to all who call on him in truth.
He grants the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cries for help and rescues them.
The Lord protects all those who love him,
but he destroys the wicked. ~King David in Psalm 145
Here’s some links on info and tangible ways to help around the world: