Sunday, July 27, 2008

Meeting Needs

If any of you were at genesis last week, you may have heard me talking a little bit about the necessity of us taking on some of the character of Christ, who, seeing the needs of the people in the world, met those needs, however great or small.  In our day, we see so many more needs in our local and global worlds, and Christ calls us to strive to help those needs.  I just finished a book yesterday that I've been wanting to finish for a while, Infections and Inequalities by Paul Farmer, a man I greatly admire and respect for his work with the poor.  The book looks at how treatable infectious diseases remain huge global problems as they are not treated properly or at all in the poorer countries, or even parts of wealthy countries, such as the US.  Farmer's main focus is in Haiti, the poorest nation in our hemisphere, with tragically high rates of TB, AIDS, and other largely or completely treatable infectious diseases.  As I've read this book and others about this topic, one that God has put on my heart in a big way, I am frightened by the great degree to which I and other perfectly capable benefactors have separated ourselves from the suffering of our fellow men.  Last night, I had a nightmare resulting from the numerous lives described in that book that were wracked from disease, malnutrition, and social injustice.  I was in Haiti, being forced to do hard labor to stay alive, and all around me, the knowledge was there that nobody really cared if I got sick or died besides those I worked alongside.  Overwhelming feelings of helplessness and desperation consumed me until I finally woke up, the sick feeling of being forgotten and left behind clinging to me.  THIS is the life we allow for other human beings with needs and capabilities equal to our own.  THIS is where our version of the love of Christ has left the world.  How can we, who claim to reflect the love of Christ, who claim to be His very hands and feet, ignore the cries and the needs of those suffering right around us?  How can love be displayed through either ignorance or inaction?  Jesus was a man full of love, compassion, and action who, when he saw the needs of those around him, did not hesitate to act.  Is it not our great burden and great joy to care for those suffering, those pinned down by the heavy weight of inequality?  May our hearts and our lives be poured out to give aid to those who most desperately need it!!


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