Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Could I?

I saw a video that someone posted on Facebook recently, and I can't get it out of my head. The video showed an American or British woman arriving at a secluded African village. She was looking for the orphans often left alone in these primitive settings because a parent(s) has died of AIDS or starvation or other disease. As she comes upon this little village, she encounters two tiny, skinny, naked children laying on the dirt--not really moving at all, but moaning quietly. It is only because of the moaning that one knows they are still alive. They are starving to death. It is at this point that the woman, so moved by pity, cries out in anguish. Then you see another little girl enter the scene. This little girl--tiny herself--is dressed only in a dirty, and very much too big for her, men's dress shirt. She is the 8 year old sister of the others. She is carrying a large tub of water which she sits down by the children. She then picks up her less -than- 20- pounds 7 year old brother--who can't walk because he was afflicted with Polio--and carries him to a blanket where she begins to bath him from head to toe--all the while looking shyly at the camera. This 8 year old has had to walk miles to get this clean water, and miles to get back, and yet here she is, taking care of her siblings. After she is done bathing her brother, she carries him to a clean blanket and carefully puts him down. Now she goes to her sister, carries her tiny body to the water and bathes her just as she did her brother. This is not an easy job as this younger sister's legs are also useless--affected also by Polio. She repeats the same process again and lays her clean sister beside the brother. This 8 year old girl has become the only 'parent' these children have--what amazing commitment and love she shows them.

Knowing that the children are starving and wanting to help at least a bit, the cameraman reaches into his bag and pulls out three packages of peanut butter crackers and gives them to the little parent-girl. She opens one of these packs eagerly--she, too, is starving--but still she serves; she offers the first one to her brother, and the second to her sister. After each of the little ones start nibbling, she gets a cracker herself and begins to eat. After just that minute amount of sustenance, the younger children are able to sit up and pay attention to their sibling parent.

The video then cuts out and script on the screen tells the viewers that because of this American/English woman's efforts, these children were taken to hospitals to rehabilitate them. They were then placed in loving foster care. Their sister was also placed in a foster home where she could once again enjoy being a child--not a little adult.

As I watched this video with tears, all I could think was, "I can go and get food anytime I want it...and even when I don't want it. I have never truly been hungry." Yet, they had no food to nourish their small bodies. They eagerly accepted what someone had thrown in a backpack for an afternoon snack. We, in America, have so much. We don't often think of people dying because they have nothing to eat. In fact, food is so accessible to us, many are grossly overweight.

I wasn't sure what to do with this video. It made me feel ashamed to be living in America--where the livin' is truly easy. It made me feel guilty to eat three meals and still want more. It made me realize how insulated I am in my cushy world. I don't think God allowed me to see it, though, so I would condemn my lifestyle and curse my lot in life. I think he showed it to me to help me see more clearly beyond my near-sighted world.

So, what can I do personally for these starving children and others like them?

Am I supposed to adopt? I don't think so, but God will make it clear if that's what He wants. Should I give more money to alleviate this poverty? this hunger? this hopelessness? Maybe so. Should I go? and see? Probably--maybe to the Zambia Hope Center where we already have a start. I can go...and see...and experience another life than my own...another culture unlike my own...with people that God loves as much as me because they are His own. But these are all eventual things--concrete things that I can accomplish by doing paperwork, writing a check, hopping on a plane.

What if God wants to do something else in me right now? Like change my view of drudgery--and see it as service to Him? And change my view of imperfect--and see it as beautiful? What if He wants me to shun attention to my tasks of honor with only a shy smile and a continuation of my service? What if I am supposed to be second, or sixth, or last? What if He wants to use those children to make me more like Him? And what if He wants me to be more like those children--humble, helpless, dependent on His judgment call?

What if?

Could I? Would I?

What would You have me do, Dear Lord?

Enable me to do it.

Here Am I. Send me.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

To view the video, click here:

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