It seems to me that there are so many broken systems in our world - The US welfare system is abused by most who use it, we have people crossing borders illegally in hopes of a better life - 94 of which were arrested in Denver and surrounding cities - all of whom were criminal offenders. We have families losing jobs, homes, loved ones...and yet there remains this group of people who are cocooned in their comfort. Some of whom, like Bill Gates, have more money than any one family really needs...some of whom worked for it (like Bill Gates), others of whom inherited it from their families (Paris Hilton), and still others who gambled and were favored by chance drawing (the 3 winning tickets of the recent Mega Millions Lottery drawing for 640 BILLION dollars). I struggle with the dichotomy of it - how there can be people who are so blessed with health, and abundance who sit and whine and complain about things which most of us would be content with.
I think of my brother and sister-in-law in Africa - how they deal with things like inconsistent electricity, a propane powered refrigerator and freezer, knowing that their water is limited to what is in their cisterns - that when it's gone, it's gone, they can't just turn on the tap and run water for time without end. That there are those in the affluent University Town they are currently witnessing in that are lucky to have money to put food on their tables, let alone dreaming of something so luxurious as a refrigerator to keep it fresh!
I think of the family I know who is fostering children - currently a 2 year old and 6 month old sister and brother whose father is in prison and whose mother was picked up on her 4th meth charge in 6 months.
I think of a family at Church who just said good-bye to their husband and father - only 31 - to liver failure because he was a recovered alcoholic - who began drinking at age 10! whose liver was destroyed by the age most of us are graduating University, who was told he'd be lucky to make it to his 27th birthday - who grew up in an abusive household, that was never "bad enough" to be on CPS' radar - who came to Christ in a juvenile detention center when a young man came to volunteer and mentioned that God loved him no matter what he'd done!
And I think of my friends at Church who serve and give unfailingly, without thought of recompense, without thought of self. My friends who are hurting financially, but still keep on trucking along - joyfully, knowing that they are doing what God would have them do.
I'm reminded of our Church staff saying many times that God never promised us it would be easy if we chose to walk with Him, but that He did promise to be with us always...
I know that no matter what we're doing - how insignificant we may feel, or how "silly" or selfish it might seem to us to bring our needs to Him, when our needs are that our paycheck would be stretched like the loaves and fishes to pay our bills and buy food for our families when there are so many atrocities and "true" needs to be met in this world...I know, because I struggle with that every day. Even now, as I'm sitting snug and warm in my 3900 square foot, 3-story, 4 bed, 3 bath house with a full basement that sits on a beautiful pie-shaped 1/3 acre lot in a quiet cul-de-sac, surrounded by wonderful neighbors. I am in a separate, large room from the kids, who are watching subscription satellite television, having had a nourishing breakfast and several snacks, wearing clothes for the cold weather today that fit them appropriately, knowing that my 3 year old washing machine is getting a LARGE load of MORE clothing clean of dirt and germs, and will be deposited into my 3 year old LARGE dryer. I will go in a moment to my large kitchen, and pour a cup of freshly brewed gourmet roast coffee into a hand-painted mug (albeit a gift to me) and top it off with as much sugar as my little tastebuds desire, and a blop of cream - pasteurzied, and so safe for me to drink with no worries about getting ill...and still later this morning, I'll climb into my paid-for full-size SUV, with a full tank of gas, knowing all parts are working safely, listen to the radio as I drive the 5 miles to a Charter School (tuition-free) to pick up my oldest son, who will be wearing a warm coat, hat and mittens, shoes that fit and solid and well-made, his khakis, and his expensive name-brand rugby-style shirt that comprise his uniform, and we'll drive to a restaurant to meet my husband for lunch, who will go back to his giant office building, that while environmentally friendly is still large and luxuriously outfitted, where he'll sit in meetings, and handle his job that provides a handsome salary and many other financial benefits to us which affords me to stay home full-time...
What I know that is far more important is that God desires us to come running to His arms with any and every hurt in our lives. He longs for us to rely on Him for comfort and meeting our needs. He wants nothing more than for us to choose to come to HIM to have our needs met - whatever those needs may be. Just as our children come running to our arms for comfort, or as we turn to our earthly loved ones for acceptance and comfort, God is waiting, arms open wide, to wrap us in His never-failing, ever-abundant love. To whisper words of comfort in our ear, to soothe our hurts, calm our spirits.
But, just as our children fight against our embrace, against our discipline, against our soothing, and push away, we too, so easily fight against God's loving embrace. We allow whispers of "only babies need that", or "How can I possibly bring this to my Father - He'll be so disappointed in me. Again." or worse yet "what would people think if they knew how weak I was to need my Father so badly?" And we push away, seeking comfort elsewhere - shopping, surfing the Internet, losing ourselves in books, exercise, cooking, eating, gossiping, self-pity, anxiety...we seek to fill the void with things that only leave us hurting worse and wanting more.
How is it that we can see so clearly what we need, and yet delude ourselves time after time after time that the whispered words of the Evil One are true - that we are too broken, we messed up too badly, being selfish to come to the One who created us?
My heart breaks today for many of the people in my life who are struggling with these feelings and thoughts - my friend whose 14 and 4 year old children are living with her oldest brother and sister-in-law 3 states away because she's bi-polar and can't care for them herself, but only sees that she is hurting as they are away from her, and NOT seeing that they are thriving - healthy, fed, in a consistent home life that she is unable to provide them. My friend who is with her 4 and 2 year old daughters, discovering she is pregnant with a child that will never know their biological father because he died last week, and to my friend who is sitting up the road from me, in her fancy house, with many creature comforts, who is heart-broken because they cannot have biological children and her husband is not at a point of even thinking about adoption. Or myself - who sits surrounded by material blessings as well as spiritual and emotional ones, racked with guilt for having so much when there are others who have so little.
And it weigh heavily on me - hardly able to understand how God could ask some to have more and others to have none...am I truly supposed to have much so I can work on behalf of those who have none? Would it not make more sense that we all have the same?
But His ways are not mine, nor His thoughts...