I had a lovely day today. My sister took the day off of work so we could hang by the pool and get pedicures. I bought the only romper I’ve ever found that actually fits me, a tall person, and I’ll spend this evening at my church’s open mic night.
Also today, people died of the ebola virus. Children were beheaded in Iraq simply because their family would not renounce their Christian faith.
Women all over the globe were forced to have sex upwards of twenty times today. Entire families are working ridiculously long shifts in brick kilns and garment factories.
And here I am, sitting in my new romper, getting more deflated by the minute and closer to tears.
When does this end?
When does the evil stop prospering? When do the oppressed get to stand, apart from their oppressors and say that by the blood of Jesus they are free, and no man can make them a slave again? When will justice roll down like a stream and righteousness like mighty waters?
And what do I do in the meantime?
How do I reconcile my day, which I thought was pretty nice and not harmful to anyone, with what my brothers and sisters are encountering all across the globe? How can I feel okay about that?
There’s a lot of cognitive dissonance here. I want to find joy in everything, in the little things like, how for the first time this week, I didn’t burn my toast today and how I saved a whole lot of money by shopping at the store I work at. But then I want to cry, “INJUSTICE! EVIL!” at the real horrors of others’ daily lives.
Because there’s no way to twist these things, to make them sound better than they are. They really just are evil. There’s nothing even remotely good about a child being beheaded. A child. That must break our hearts.
That is the right response, isn’t it? We should have broken hearts over these things. God does. He most definitely does. But he also is glad that my sister finally got a day off of work. He rejoices that I had fewer carcinogens going into my body today.
Sometimes I wonder if God looks at us American Christians and says, Man, you guys have it easy. I really expect more from you.
More. I bet He does expect more from us.
But more what? More sorrow? More money? More aid?
Lord, what do you want from us?
You can have my guest room, Lord! Send the Iraqi Christians! Is that what you want? Will it eradicate evil? I’ll do it, Lord. I’ll do it because I don’t think my heart can take anymore.
Your heart must be even heavier, God.
I suppose this is the juncture where I remember what God asks of us, to love our God with everything that is in us. To be all in (even the kitchen sink) and loving our neighbors here on planet Earth like we love ourselves.
What does the Lord require of you?
To live justly. To implant right works in every aspect of our lives, to speak about injustices and work to correct them.
To love mercy. To forgive, to be forgiven, to love to see redemption win.
And to walk humbly with our God.
I think that’s what I have to come back to on days like today, where my reality is so starkly different from most of the world. Because if I walk humbly with God, I’ll be following Him. And if I’m following Him, He’ll ask me to be a part of things and give me His heart for people.