Tuesday, March 22, 2011

For One

I've been reading The Hole in Our Gospel off and on for awhile now. Although I have "enjoyed" it in the sense that I definitely recommend it for others to read, it's impossible to "enjoy" this book in the typical book reading way. It's a hard book. A hard read, not in verse or wording, but a heard truth. It has a heaviness of content and the conviction, questions, and re-evaluation of your life it can bring is not without its own uncomfortableness. It can leave you restless and unable to sleep at night if you allow the reality of it all to penetrate your heart... it definitely has that affect on me.

However, I think it is important that we, especially believers in Christ know the realities of the world around us. The struggle of our brothers and sisters. The famine. The poverty. The disease. The thirst. The depravity of those around us, whether in our city or in a continent half across the world.

This book does an excellent job of painting that picture in the rawness of the pain and suffering the world at large is experiencing, yet sharing the HOPE that comes through Jesus Christ alone. The HOPE that comes because of the LIVING WATER of life (John 6:35 - "Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.") and the HOPE we can share as believers by being the hands and feet of Jesus to the world around us (Ephesians 5:1 "Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children."). We can make a difference and God often invites us to be a part of the solution and help he wants to give to our neighbor.

The other night this section from the book really resonated with me...

"I can imagine my own life without many of the so-called necessities that I have. You can take away my car and I would find a way to compensate by using public transportation or carpooling with a friend. You could take away my computer and my Internet access, my television, stereo, and radio, and I could still have a full and prosperous life. You could reduce the size of my house and my income by half, and even take away my education and I could survive and perhaps even thrive. But if you take away water and sanitation, you take away my health and that of my children. If you take away my health, you have taken away my energy and my industry. If you take away my energy and ability to support my family, you have taken away my dignity; and if you take away my dignity, you have taken away hope- for the future, for my children, for a better life. This is the harsh reality of the more than one billion people in the world who live without access to clean, safe water."
(pg. 139 - The Whole in Our Gospel)

Let that sink in for a little while...





And once you become a bit uncomfortable with that reality, desiring to turn away a little bit, to squirm, and maybe even begin to think, "why does that matter - I cannot really make a difference anyway for one billion people?"... I share the next quote that puts into words what God has been constantly revealing to me in the last year or so...

"Bob Pierce once said, 'Don't fail to do something just because you can't do everything.' These are wise words to anyone overwhelmed with the magnitude of human suffering in the world. We are not asked to help all of them at once, just one at a time." (pg.152 - The Hole in Our Gospel)

And last but not least, I leave you this story:

"One early morning, after a fierce storm had hit the coast, I strolled to the beach for my morning walk. Horrified, I saw that tens of thousands of starfish had been washed up on the beach by the winds and waves. I was saddened by the realization that all of them would die, stranded on the shore, away from the life-giving water. Despairing that there was nothing I could do, I sat down on the sand and put my head in my hands.

But then I heard a sound, and I lifted my eyes. There, in the distance, I saw a man bending down and then standing up, bending down and standing up. Curious, I rose and walked toward him. I saw that he was picking up the starfish, one at a time, and throwing them back into the sea.

"What are you doing?" I yelled.

"Saving the starfish," he replied.

"But don't you see, man, that there are tens of thousands of them?" I asked, incredulous. "Nothing you can do will make a difference."

He did not answer me but instead bent down, picked up another starfish, and cast it back into the water. Then he smiled, looked me in the eye, and said, "It made a difference to that one!"

(pg. 162 - The Hole in Our Gospel)

I'm so thankful that God has called us to something greater than ourselves. I want to be a part of the big picture and sharing the hope I have because of Jesus.

1 comment:

Rachael said...

Did you know that yesterday, the day of this post, was World Water Day? What a "coincidence."