Kingdom come

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Welcome to Saturday. I tried yet another pancake recipe this morning from Once Upon A Chef. I’m not even sure what I’m looking for in trying all these pancake recipes. I just know I haven’t found it yet.

I spent some time in a tube on a playground with a three-year-old yesterday. Then we got pink and yellow ice cream (strawberry and lemon custard, but who cares what the flavor is? It was the PINK that mattered).

imageI think I’ve finally found a lotion that will take away what I think is eczema on my hands. This is the first time in months that I’ve woken up and my hands aren’t itching. It seems like a small thing to have itch-free hands, but it is such a relief. Thank God for colloidal oatmeal… whatever that is.

I have the day off from work, and my sister and I are going to go shopping, probably.

I started reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson last night in preparation for an independent study on her work in the fall.

This is my life right now.

Then I got in bed and read Ann Voskamp’s blog post about four women living in a shipping container in Iraq and how she sat with them and heard about the atrocities ISIS has inflicted on them. Yes, right in the stream of everything else I did yesterday I read this and I thought – what in the world should I do with my days when ISIS is selling 9-year-old girls for $172 and saying, “Do what you want with them.” Then they are sending these girls back to their families pregnant and ashamed of what has been done to them. 9-year-olds.

That had better cause some tension, right? These women have never been allowed to learn to read or write. They had to choose which children they would take with them when they fled from ISIS… because they couldn’t take them all. How do you tell your child there isn’t room for them with you?

The easiest way to deal with this knowledge is to deny it. We’d never say it out loud that it never happens, but we could walk away from it. We could frown, give a worried look, and just barely let concern graze our hearts before we turn our backs and return to our lives.

And our lives are legitimate. We are where we are for a reason. I live in suburban Minnesota and work retail right now because that is where God has put me. But we are blessed to be a blessing. We are given much and told to whom much is given, much is expected.

We could compartmentalize our lives. We could carefully wrap up all the over there and somewhere stories that are horrible beyond our understanding. And that would get rid of that nagging feeling that we should do something.

Something – but what? What can we do? I felt such helplessness reading her post, which is maybe why I felt I needed to write about it. There was a place to give money to help women start businesses and send their children to school. Ann says that’s defying ISIS and waging love.

It feels small to me, because my dollars can go, but my helplessness will stay. Am I waging love?

This is the point where I remember how helpless I am in all things. Ann knows this. She knows that even when we pour our all into humanitarian efforts, it’s for naught if God isn’t at the helm of it all.

This isn’t where I relinquish responsibility for the state our world is in today – it’s the part where I realize that I am part of the problem and can be part of the solution, but God is the solution. This is the part where we’re supposed to get down on our knees and say God, this is awful. This isn’t what you want for our world. MOVE, Lord. Or MOVE ME. 

This is the part where we say, Your kingdom come. Your will be done. And not in the passive, you-do-it-and-leave-me-out-of-it way because we are the vehicles for the kingdom of God.

The dissonance of it all — I’m still going shopping this afternoon, and I still will keep living my life here, because this is where I am. But God, keep me from forgetting that over there is not so far and that these are my brothers and sisters who are suffering. Let me be quick to help and pray.

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