Thursday, October 12, 2006

Rough World, Tender Hearts

The world is a very rough place.

Today, somewhere, probably not so far away, a young girl’s innocence is stolen.

Somewhere, probably much nearer, a man betrayed the solemn promise he made.

Somewhere a man doesn’t understand why he hates his body, why he feels trapped inside it, why he wants to be a woman. He thinks God has played a terrible joke on him and he hates his life.

Somewhere a woman is filling her life with a string of sexual partners, attempting to convince herself she is loved.

Somewhere a child is wondering why the soldiers dragged her parents away.

Everyday atrocities are happening beyond description, beyond my imagination.

The world is frustrated, angry, rushed, grieving, longing, lonely, lustful, resentful, depressed, and simply dying inside.

It isn’t surprising so many people question the existence of God.

Not a cheerful topic. I’m in a cheerful mood though. It has been a great week. I have been challenged at work, I am tired, in a very good way. My marriage is good. My kids are fine. I am working harder than ever and am loving my life. But I’m mindful of those who are hurting.

I wish more could know peace.

Their frustrations and disappointments, pain and shame, seem beyond their control. They assume the control of these terrible things are in His hands.

“He holds the whole world in His hands...” But He has leased it out to us, and given us one Hell of a landlord. More accurately, a landlord from Hell.

But remember, the free will we have been given is augmented by the power of prayer, prayer can move the hand of God. An amazing thought. The Lord of all, the Creator, has arranged the universe that He permits us to use His power.

My friend is in a land of tears. He and another are rolling along a potholed road in the mountains of western Africa. The medical supplies they carry will bring welcome relief for many who suffer. But it is a small drop of water in a very thirsty place.

I took two semesters of African history. It is a sad tale of colonialism, imperialism, and greed. It can be tiresome learning what the French did to Africa. What the British did. What the Dutch did. What slavery, poverty, and disease did. What coffee growers and soap makers and dealers in precious metals and gems did to Africa.

My friend is taking glasses of cool water to thirsty people, and seeking ways to bring them more.

It does not replace the arms of children hacked off with the machetes of ethnic hate. And it does not restore home and family to those who have lost both.

But it does demonstrate, to a few, that there is love in the world.

Readers of the Book of Job are usually searching for answers to why people suffer. It’s a tough question. They sometimes think that Job will answer that question. But in the end, God never tells job the why of it all.

I think the book isn’t about such questions. I think it is about how we are to live in the face of tragedy.

The world rolls on, and those in deep grief look on in horror as it does. The sun rises and the world blithely goes about its business, callously ignoring the breaking tender heart.

The owner of a breaking heart might wonder if there is a God. If He is cruel or uncaring.

Suffering is part and parcel with free will.

So is salvation.

That drink of cool water my friend is taking to Africa is really about love. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

The pains of Job are relived every day, all over this rolling ball of dirt.

What an awful, hideous, festering realm of sorrow.

My life is good right now. I love my job. I love my family. I really love my wife. I am happy to follow my Lord.

I recognize the world is filled with sorrow. I also recognize there is joy in offering a glass of water.

So tonight my friend is walking under African skies, gazing at stars I have never seen.

It is a joy to bring water to those who thirst. To provide a glimmer, a dim reflection of the blinding love which sorrows with us. The love which gazes in compassion and grief at our choices, the ones which lead us to choose evil.

If you are in pain. If you are aching and weary. Let me know. I am eager to pray for you. It would be my honor to offer you a cup of water.

21 comments:

jel said...

very moving post,

Jim said...

Some very intriguing thoughts. We studied Job for fifteen weeks a little while ago and came to the same conclusion.
BTW I generally offer workmen, salespeople, or others who come here in the hot weather a glass of cool water. They generally accept and appreciate the drink.
..

Ame said...

Matt 10:42 "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."

Thank you.

If you would pray for my 6 year old when you remember her. She has continuous reflux and lives in chronic pain. Finding anything that helps is a long process. We have several specialists. And, really, it's very hard for me to watch her in so much pain. Sometimes we're able to take the edge off, but have not been able to really relieve the pain. Pain management is also something we work on. Thank you for your generosity ... for your cup of cold water :)

curious servant said...

Heavenly Father... I lift this family up to You... I pry for this child. Bless them Lord. Please draw near to them, permit them to feel Your presence in a tangible way. I pray for this chi'd suffering, Lord. Ease her pain, grant her relief. Provide wisdom for the doctors, endurance for the members f this family. Grant Your special blessings to them in this hour Lord. --Amen.

Ame said...

Thank you :)

Fred said...

The world seems so much angrier than it was when I was growing up.

What confuses many of my students is that many of the atrocities committed today are in the name of religion.

Anonymous said...

Will,

Just saw your comment on my blog.
Thank you brother!
I'm glad you did too!

Justin

Kathleen Marie said...

What a great post for Monday morning. I love that phrase, "God's in His Heaven, Alls well in your world, so what are you worried about?"

But, like you said, not is all well in this world. That is why we need to pray. I have a new post by Joni Ames on my http://pureandholy.blogspot.com blog. This is a blog were I post articles and things I want to share about my faith. Today's is Deadly Unforgiveness and there is too much unforgiveness in this world.

I will pray for your friend in Africa.

Have a blessed week!

Jada's Gigi said...

What a sad excuse of a world we live in...so far from the garden He provided....but He truly is water in a dry and thirsty land...let us offer Him to the masses and those who drink of Him will never thirst again. Thank you for your offering...a desperate need in a desperate world.

G~ said...

Hello there, CS. Long time, I know.

Without Christ's peace? how do people keep going? How do they make themselves get up the next morning? I know I couldn't. If I couldn't cast all my care upon Him, I would truly be lost and totally overwhelmed.

This mess of a world will never make sense which is why I'm glad I don't have to understand what's going on or know how to fix it.

All I have to know is that HE knows. :)

Becky said...

This was a very moving blog. What I like about the book of Job is the brutal honesty of the main character in the midst of despair. Too often, (I feel) people give glib answers to a person's suffering much like Job's friends--we tell a person it must be sin, you must have done something wrong, etc.

What is the meaning in suffering? Someitmes I wonder is our very suffering meant to become our greatest mission in life? To me, this is something each person has to reconcile and it is not an easy process.

Thanks for another great post.

becky

curious servant said...

Good point Becky.

Growth is a painful experience. Often it is the pain which brings emotional, spiritural growth and maturity.

By the way... I'm having a lot of difficulty reading and writing right now. I broke my glasses!

So I am using a prescription that is 7 years old!

It could be as long as two week to get the particular arts for my glasses. I know, I know... I could go to a one hour place... Not for me though. I like going to ol' doc Zieg.

I like to hae a one on one relatioship with the people I do business with.

Later!

Bad Alice said...

Beatifully expressed.

AME: I will pray for your daughter, too. My little one also has reflux, but not as severe as what you describe.

Ame said...

thank you

David said...

I have missed reading your thoughts - they always reach out and grab me.

Joe said...

The pains of this world are the result of the fall. If there had been no fall, there would have been no pain.

Job was righteous...God said so.

Job's friends were pompus. God said He was displeased with them.

Job recovered. We have no evidence that they did.

Robert said...

Book of job always serves as a stimulus for thought. Amazing how job maintains his integrity no matter what happens to him. ultimately the question remains... is God trustworthy???? Job found the answer and was ultimately rewarded by God with renewed blessings of all he had lost. So good to interact with so many others and see just how God touches us so uniquely.

Anonymous said...

Just checking in.

New glasses arrived yet?

All is well I trust?

C & G said...

Thanks for your thoughts - the "here" and "net yet" of the Kingdom of God . . . definitely a daily struggle for me too.

So you want to pray - here's one . . .
We heard 7 weeks ago that our dossier was rejected in Rwanda. Their reason? We have not been married for 5 years yet (It's been 4 a couple weeks ago). Then two weeks after we heard, our attorney in Rwanda went and had a meeting with the Minster and she said that she would reconsider - that was 5 weeks ago . . . we are still waiting. My heart hurts so much in the waiting. We are praying in hope with mustard seed faith that God will move this mountain. Our I-600A and fingerprints expire soon . . . more than that though, we are just anxious to move forward in this process. Thanks neighbor!

Coco said...

Thank you for being there...
for praying for those in need.

My thoughts and prayers are with you... May God continue to give you love, strength, and courage to do His job here (help others).

Take care!

Blessings.

Jim said...

And old women get mugged for their money. That happened to my friend in Russia a couple of days ago.

BTW, I'm back. If you like roses, read Billy's last post about his Dad's.
..