Can Anybody Hear Me?

pg-38-nigeria-getty

Psalm 77

My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud;
My voice rises to God, and He will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;
In the night my hand was stretched out without weariness;
My soul refused to be comforted.

As the plight of the kidnapped Nigerian school girls continues on… I’m hearing less about it.  I’m sickened that my heart isn’t near as grieved as it was the first I heard about their plight.  I think we reach a point that we intentionally try to lesson our pain by detaching ourselves emotionally.  But how can we pray passionately and at the same time try to keep our emotions in check?  We can’t.  All of us need to learn what it means to “weep with those who weep.”  It isn’t a comfortable place to be… but it is our calling.

The picture to the left of the blog began my heart journey.  My wife, Janine, pointed out to me the mother in the right center of the picture, the one holding the sign that reads:  “CAN ANYONE HEAR ME?”  It breaks my heart every time I see it.  How can I look away from it?

Would I want you to turn away from it if it were my little girl?  I cannot imagine not knowing where my child is tonight… to wonder if they were being beaten or raped or sold like a piece of property.  Further I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have anyone to turn to in such a situation.  Their government is powerless to do anything.  They were forced to appeal to the world in order to get help.  Their picture betrays their desperation.

Psalm 77 echoes their cries.  I imagine they would empathize with “my soul refuses to be comforted.”  I usually include a devotional thought with my blogs… something to think about and to apply to your life.  But can I today just ask if you will pray with me?  Pray with fervency and with emotion!

It isn’t making the news much, but the majority of the school girls were Christian believers.  I don’t say that to say they require more prayer than a member of another faith.  I would pray for anyone suffering in such a way.  But it really hits home when tragedy strikes family.  And it rips my heart to know that many of these are my sisters in Christ.

Will you with me let your voice rise to God?  Will you cry out to God with me?   I have the faith of the Psalmist that even in the day of trouble… God sees us… and hears us.

Let’s pray for God to intervene in this situation.  Thank you.

 

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Overcoming Compassion Fatigue

A Christian Response to EvilGalatians 6:9

This is the third in the series “A Christian’s Response to Evil.”  In this series we are looking at common responses in a season of terror and how we as believers need to be responding.  Last post I wrote that the common first reaction to evil is rage… but how our response needs to be Godly anger or resolve.

In this post I want to address the common response in the wake of tragedy of weariness or compassion fatigue.  The last 7 years in American history have shaken up all of us.  Clackamas Town Center, Oregon shooting (12/11/12)… Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin (8/5/12)… Aurora, Colorado theatre shooting (7/20/12)… Cafe Racer Espresso shooting in Seattle, WA (5/29/12)… Oikos University shooting in Oakland, CA (4/2/12)… Chardon High School shooting in Chardon, OH (2/27/12)… IHOP restaurant shooting in Carson City, NV (9/6/12)… Safeway shooting in Tucson, AZ (Rep. Gabby Giffords shot in the head) (1/8/12)… Fort Hood Shooting (11/5/09)… Virginia Tech Shooting (4/16/07)… Amish Schoolhouse shooting in Lancaster, PA (10/2/06)….  that is just seven years back… and I didn’t include all of the mass killings in the list.

If you are like me when you heard about the Boston Marathon bombing last week your first thought was:  “Again?”  It is so easy to want to give up on caring… to get tired of helping.  Because the tragedies don’t end.

Last Monday in Boston someone literally blew up the finish line.  Weary runners that had been on the course for 4 hours… exhaustionwith the end in their sights watched as chaos ensued.  Have you ever felt that way about life?  You help and help and there seems to be no keeping the darkness back.  Then… there goes the finish line.  You want to sit on the track and cry.  You reach the point that your heart shrinks and you want to go back to caring for  “me and mine” and leave all that saving the world stuff for somebody else.

The Scriptures teach that as believers we are not to “… lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”

Jesus taught us to go an extra mile.  Some of the runners at the marathon crossed the finish line and didn’t stop running until they ran to the nearest hospital to offer blood.  Some dehydrated runners in medical tents with IV’s in their arms, ripped them out to clear the tent for the wounded.

Let me ask you, believer… “What extra mile are you running?”  For the hurting, the downtrodden, the exploited, the lost in this world.

Romans 12:17 & 21 teaches us: 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. …21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  The goodness that comes out of you thwarts the efforts of the “terrorists.”  So give, help, serve and love.

How can I help a city that is 1,100 miles away?  You can start by helping your neighbor across the street.  Don’t lose heart… instead offer  a compassionate “extra mile” kind of compassion.

Mark Buchanan in his book, The Holy Wild, shared an excerpt from a letter written by a missionary couple in Brazil:

“Driving through the Christmas traffic, fighting the drizzling rain, I chanced on a four-year-old little girl.  She was wet and cold and shaking.  Her clothes were ragged, her hair was matted, and her nose was running.  She walked between the cars at the stoplight, washing headlights because she was too short to wash windshields.  A few gave her coins, others honked at her to get away from their vehicles.

As I drove away only some fifty cents poorer, I raged at God for the injustice in the world that allowed the situation.  “God, how could you stand by, helpless?”  Later that evening, God came to me softly with that still small voice and responded not in like kind to my rage, but with tenderness, “I have done something.  I created you.”  (The Holy Wild, pp.  86-87.)

God hasn’t moved the finish line.  The finish line is Christ-like character.  And every crisis is another chance to grow in His grace.