as myself

I can’t decide whether I’m lucky or blessed.

I know that luck really is only imagination.  Luck is just a lie— everything is providence.

But I don’t think that “blessed” quite gives me the connotation I hope for when I think of how… well, lucky I am.

I sit in my little cozy room, watching the world outside through insulated glass windows.  I lay on my bed, reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and listen to God move some furniture upstairs.  And I can’t help but think: how lucky am I?

I imagine the sweet children of Uganda, huddled under a tree to gain shelter from the cold rain.  Their stomachs are sunken from hunger, and they are tired from walking, taking care of younger siblings, and constantly rummaging for food.  Their tired eyes close for just a second to rest, before a younger sibling pulls at their leg, scared, wanting comfort. They are lost, not geographically, but spiritually.  Where is their father?  Why is mother sick?  They don’t know what it feels like for their stomach to be satisfied.  They don’t know what real love is.

And my heart breaks for these children that I do not even know.  I have never been out of the country, or extremely out of what seems comfortable, what seems bearable. And I punch myself for being selfish, wanting a car.  I punch myself for wanting more, for throwing around the saying “I’m poor.”  How could I be so blind?  So ignorant?

This week in Sunday school, I heard something that I do not believe will leave my mind conscience for as long as I live.

When we begin to ignore God’s callings and commands, we become immune and hard-hearted towards situations and problems that should tear us apart.

When we choose ignorance over action, we loose feeling. When we choose to talk about it and not change it, we become immune.

I remember when my mom first told me about the children in Africa who did not have anything like I had.  She read me a book with pictures make me understand how lucky I was.

I was distraught. How could a child not have food? I mean, I got to choose my food.  And no parents?  That must be terrible.  I guess they didn’t have to make their bed, but I kind of liked my mom every now and then.  I then decided I had to help them.  I would give them some of my oranges. (I didn’t prefer those anyway.)

So, I heard more about these children, and I became immune.  I mean, there were a ton of them.  Okay, I get it.  And it wasn’t until I read Kisses from Katie (the book, this link is the blog), that God really began to open up my heart to these children again.  He reminded me that they were real.  They weren’t some made-up stories.  They really did live just thousand of miles away.

Let me get this straight– I have never been to see these children.  I have not been to Uganda or Sudan or Kenya.  And I do realize that there are a billion places that need ministry.  Everywhere, really.

But when I read this book, my heart was so torn for these places that I understood what it felt like to care again.

So no, I might not ever go to Africa (although I really hope to.)  And, yes I know that there are many other opportunities to serve our Father, including in my school, church, and home.  I will go wherever he calls. But I must say that I cannot ignore the situations, and I pray that when I hear of these things wherever— in South America, the USA, Russia, Asia, or even my school and hometown— that they tear me to pieces, that it bothers me.

It bothers me when my family hurts; it makes me upset to think about someone picking on my little brother.  When my best friend cries because things are not working out the way that seems right, you bet my heart aches.

Because that is love.

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this:  ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:28-31

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