Monday, February 17, 2014

Freedom To Reach Out To The One

Today I am very grateful to be living here in America.  No, it is not due to the Olympics and all the medals won...the crowds cheering on USA in hockey or ice skating.  That is fun, but it is all only a small part of what makes our country great.  Today I am giving thanks for the freedom and abundance we have here after watching the news and hearing the UN's report on the horrors taking place in the N. Korean prisons.  Babies killed at birth....children starving.....parents beaten to death or worse.  Yes, there are worse things than death. 

How God's heart must break for every child of His, young or old that suffers.  So much of the world suffers.  Ann Voskamp and her family are over in another country yet to be told, helping those who are in need, praying to teach their children more gratitude and grace while sharing it with those who only understand loss and less.

It takes me back...........When we lived in the Philippine Islands, it was the mid-seventies,  and the US was still fighting in Viet Nam.  Clark Air Force base was it's own city of 40,000, but at first our home was outside the gates.   Living off the base the first year plus, we saw plenty of the hungry, both of body and soul.  We would watch young children dig through our garbage in the early morning hours, and once when a garbage truck broke down outside our yard's cement walls of protection, the garbage men just built a fire, dug around in the piles of garbage they were sitting on and warmed up what they could find to eat.  More than once they fought over our throwaway scraps.  You don't forget that.

You don't forget the poverty, hunger, and oppression as far as the eye can see.  You do what you can, but it seems so little.  And certainly the Philippines of that day was nothing compared to places in Africa or N. Korea where it is not only poverty but the government itself inflicting  horrors on their own people.

We are not all able to go walk in the dirt of Haiti or Uganda. It seems even the powerful cannot reach N. Korea.  So, how do we walk in obedience to God's Word to care for the orphans and widows....and to love one another as He has loved us?  Those are not suggestions.....nor options. 

Listen to your heart. Pray.  Reach out to the the dirt of Uganda or on the paved streets of your own city.  Much of the poverty in our own country is hidden, but it is here.  Over the years we have had many homeless, out of work, and even a few unwilling to work grace the doorsteps of the parsonages or the churches Joel served.  I heard stories from our own family and friends this year of reaching out, finding the one or many, and communities everywhere have come together.  I am sure you have your own stories to share.

Yes, we are very blessed to live in America (and other developed countries).  We have so much to be thankful for.  I certainly worry more about overeating than eating.  I expect you do too.  Gratitude.  Freedom of speech......gratitude.  Freedom from tyranny.  Gratitude.  Freedom to choose.  Gratitude.  Freedom to reach out to the one. 

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