I have so been wanting to write another post about Africa. In light of the fact that I have only been there through the pages of books, I feel that my perspective is inadequate, and that I only can touch the tip of the pandemic that is destroying God's people there. Huge sentence, I realize.
Yet, in looking at the hopelessness on the faces of the tragedy that has recently effected a nearby community, my heart breaks. It wonders why. I can place names and faces and family members on the loss here. I can somewhat understand. Not completely, but my heart grieves for them and I can tangibly see their heartache. The Chapmans, and an incredible testimony of trust and praise even in the storm here. It makes me cry, God this really really sucks. It does. Don't think that I doubt you, but You have left me lost.
The following is my own heart's cry for Africa. I do not pretend to know all the years of political agendas and instability of each country. However, today I heard a comment about the country of China, pertaining to the earthquake which alluded to, "there is too many people there anyway, they just need to be fixed."
My stomach turned. It was so easy to see the judgement in the comment and selfishness, and ignorance.. But how many times have I blocked my emotions to the empty faces and longing eyes for hope and concluded, it's just too big. I can't help a continent. I can't. There are just too many people there.
Too many priceless, God woven, soul filled individuals who are just like my neighbors, facing a hopeless and pain filled situation, and I am silent. And if I knew their names, and if I saw their faces, could I turn away?
There are like a billion numbers and statistics floating around. In Kenya and Zambia 6% of woman are infected with HIV by 15, 13% by 16, 20% by 17, 24% by 18, 30% by 19, and 40% by 20. Twelve million African children have lost one or both of their parents to AIDS. Swaziland had and HIV infection rate in 2004 of 42%. The young adult age is simply disappearing because of AIDS. Leaving an older generation who is dying and countries filled with children left to hopeless abandonment. Girls faced with a decisions no one should ever face. If only there was political agenda that had interests in people, real people. If each of these statistics were recognized as a person.
I wonder: who looks at her as a gift the way our daughters are lavished on? The little girl whose mother desperately wanted to see her baby grow. But was robbed of the joy of motherhood too soon, without the arms of safely to leave her child. Her father never even seeing her face, for AIDS left him without hearing the words, "Daddy." Where is his girl? ? My closet itself a bigger refuge than she has have ever obtained. What words of encouragement and tenderness and hope can the street children offer, or the ten other children that fill her garbage built hut? Someday my own little girls and boys are going to ask me, "mom what did you do?" More than them, my Lord is going to ask.
I am not laying a guilt trip today. But I am in a similar place as the tornado and loss, saying: this really sucks. I am heartbroken once again and lost.
We are called to be His, His hands and His feet, to be His agenda. Yet, are we looking into the faces of His people, looking for Him in everyone we meet? Where have we missed Him? When I have I turned away?