In every single corner of the world, it seems like the World is on Fire. Sadness. Sickness. Shootings. It all seems to be too much. Too much.
Everywhere I look, every news station I turn on, seem to remind me that this place we live, this earth we occupy, these people that we stand and share soil with, are hurting, and that death is literally at the doors of way too many.
Being a Christian these days is weird. I have one foot in this world of excess: wealth, loads of food, fun and entertainment at my fingertips. And then this other foot in this other world, trying to figure out and sort through all the sadness. Past my door, outside my window, our neighborhood kids run amuck, selling homemade lemonade from their stands, while in so many places in the world, children are being sold into slavery, or starving to death. It makes me sick. Literally.
And I think as a Christian, as someone who claims to know Jesus, who reads the red words of the Gospel, I am continually and constantly wrestling with my part in this whole thing. It’s a cycle of knowing that we as believers live in the “now and not yet” Kingdom of God, where we have the Holy Spirit with us, accessible for us, and God is doing His Work, but things have not been made right, and whole yet. And they wont be, until He comes back.
So, I sit in this dichotomy, and I work through and wrestle with the separation I feel towards what I see on the screen and what is happening in my little spot of suburbia. The World is on Fire, and what do from my little corner?
What do I do from my seat? What do I do with the disparity of my life and those of what I see? And I struggle to understand why some mothers in other places, other parts, somewhere other than what I know here, have so much less, so little, and life is so different than what I know. The gap is large, and the inconsistency breaks my heart.
Just last week my girlfriend Jenn got back from Guatemala. She traveled there with Food For the Hungry, and some friends from church, and there they met with women in local villages. These women, and their children, are malnourished, and under-educated; and Food for the Hungry is coming into these places, and educating the women on proper care and feeding for themselves and for their children.
And here I sat on my couch, and kept staring at picture after picture. These mama’s learning how to take care of their babies, I was so moved by this common and universal fact: no matter where we live, no matter where we are, we are all mamas trying to figure out how to best take care of our children.
And here in lies what I struggle with: I am trying to figure out how to take care of my family, my tribe, and also, how to take care of what God is calling me into. Not out of pity, or out of some silly obligation, or out of some part of me that wants to solve all the problems of the world, but out of the call as a Christian, straight out of those red words from the Gospel, confident that our role in Christianity is not to sit back idly and watch the world on fire, but to choose to enter in. Because were called too. Not because we have all the answers, or because we know exactly what to do, but because I am learning that Jesus doesn’t promise button upped answers, but He always promises that His Peace and His Presence will go with us.
These days, more and more, I feel called to live boldly and bravely in my own skin, and part of that, part of that role, is to step out of my world, and into the worlds of others. Yes, I can show up, and yes, I can get off my couch, and yes I can do something about the mess all around me.
But the truth is, this suffering, all that’s around, it’s all so mind-numbingly scary. It makes me want to crawl back in bed and hide. To pull the shades down, step back and believe this: If I don’t fully understand it all, if I can’t solve all of it, why even enter in?
And I feel like as Christians, as humans, as people, the biggest boo-boo we can make; the biggest hole we can trap ourselves in is buying into that, and burying ourselves in that lie.
Oh the world really is on fire. And, I admit that the wrestling, the feeling of calling, the desire to help, is constantly in contradiction to “the me” who wants to stay, “the me” who doesn’t want to go. I struggle with the feelings of entitlement and not wanting to reach out. It’s all a lot of messy, the stuff on the screen and the stuff inside of me.
And maybe the thing I can do first is admit just that. And then, maybe the second thing I can do is just go. Without a map, and without clear directions. Go down the street, and open my hands and heart.
Yes it’s daunting, and yes it all seems so dreary, but can’t we still do something about it? Hand in hand, foot beside foot, idea after idea. Education, donation, time, money, food, baskets, prayers, and petitions, we can do the work together. Fight side by side, and extinguish some anguish around us. Today, the world might be on fire, but you and I can at least extinguish one tiny flame. Yes, the world is on fire, but we can still be that home of hope.