Wednesday I face the day more hopeful; despite the questions and fatigue, He is still ever near...ever present. Bible study time opens up new emotions and refreshing reminders: He chooses me and His love doesn't change or fade. He loves me (such simple words we'll never fully grasp--but oh, if we could!) When I have Him, I have everything. And when I have everything, I am not afraid to give up everything.
Matt Redman - All That Really Matters
The 2013 Hillary Swank movie, Mary and Martha* (incidentally having nothing to do with the biblical characters), happens to be my evening "unwind" choice. I don't normally go to movies that much anymore, but reading after the day I've had feels too heavy an activity. I need to unravel--not weave in more thoughts. Well, my choice--unbeknownst to me--would prove to have the opposite effect. Heart breaking over the burden of this world's pain, I am weeping before the movie is half over. At one point, Mary (Hillary Swank's character) says, "We spend so much time obsessed or angry over things that don't matter." Yes, do I ever. Forgive me, Lord; I do.
Is this what it means to live with meaning, Lord? My heart breaking over what hurts you? My heart aching for the pain of loss? I want to make a difference. I want to shine your light into the darkness...the hopelessness.
This pain that penetrates the soul never leaves us inactive. Such comprehension can't. We react; we respond. We say, "Now what? What can I do?"
My husband prays over us, asks God to grant us ever-revealing perspective... And the tears keep coming; I can't stop them.
For how do we lie down to sleep on our Postur-Pedic mattress in our air-conditioned home with our children snuggled away under the hush of sound machines and Disney nightlights and say, "this is it"?
How do we spend more on one meal than a family in Haiti will spend in a month?
How do we justify $2000 playsets and upgraded phones and new furniture or a fall wardrobe when last year's are still in good condition? I'd like to buy a nicer kitchen faucet and replace my carpet.
How can we worry about the material aesthetics over the essential needs of others?
How do we look at the hunger, the desperate condition in which our fellow human beings barely exist, and say, I choose to pay for a manicure over the physical and soul needs of a child dying? Where an estimated 600,000 children die each year from malaria (one precious child every 30 seconds)! Can we even imagine?
How do we say "this over this"? My wants over your needs.
How do I?
My daughter finishes the movie with me and she asks questions. I answer truthfully. The reality still shakes me to tears--may it never not. We get on Compassion's website and compare and read and we talk about it all. Why wait? For what? Until I change my mind? Until another child dies? Until I forget and start coasting again?
I ask my daughter to count the money she's been saving up to give away. It's a random $37 and some change. I tell her what I want to give today and she gives me a number and then looks down and smiles with reservation and asks to increase it a little more. I let her type in the number amount (if I'm being purely honest...it's a lot of money for our means). When she walks away, I start to round the number down, but I feel a prick (is that $30 of so important? Do I really need it? No.) I look at the arbitrary number. She decision doesn't make much sense to me, and then I realize that the amount she typed in is exactly what it will cost to send mosquito nets, medicine and supplies for 10 people.
I am moved by the influence of one child to give. Does she understand the "value of a dollar"? Not really. But she's willing to sell toys and clothes. She's painted pictures to raise money for wells in Africa. She's donated some of her favorite stuffed animals. She's given up more than half a bag of Oreos she earned, just because she wanted to (and for a six-year-old who never gets them, that's big). :) She may not understand the value of a dollar, but she grasps the value of giving.
Can we save every child? Of course not. But we can perhaps help save one...or two...or ten, bringing hope into their lives, sharing the love of Jesus with them. And for that, isn't it worth it?
[Disclaimer]: You get the unscripted blog processing today.When I started writing, I didn't set out to talk about malaria, or any other specific soapbox. I just see so many world needs and this one is moving me today. Whatever moves you to act, be exhorted to do so. God has given you a heart for that need, so be obedient to that tug. If your ache is a world-issue, trust organizations like Compassion International and Samaritan's Purse. They spend their money wisely and they always attach it to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
*Available for free on Amazon Prime (free trial month available). one word of caution: there is some language in the film.