Thursday, February 25, 2016

When the world doesn't change

Some moments are seared on my mind.   There was this random conversation years ago that runs through my mind every now and then. I'll never forget the way words struck me. It's been rolling through with force lately.

I was at my grandmother's house. We have pretty infamous cousin dinners on occasion. They are full of old stories, hilarious re-tellings of childhood woes, and wandering out to the pasture together. Usually someone brings some sort of weapon out for a showing or a tractor is unlocked for the little ones to climb inside.  It's a very "country" part of my life that I treasure.  On this particular day, my cousin, who serves in the Navy, had come into town.  Between his travels and mine, I don't think we'd seen each other in a few years. We were never particularly chatty, even when we were wandering the hills together long ago. We laughed about how long it had been and said hello. I had been working at an orphanage in Africa and had recently returned. I feel sure I was expecting the next question to be something about when I would finally find a boyfriend or get married, as was the usual course in cousin-questioning. 

 Instead, he turned to me and asked, in his southern drawl with a knowing smile on his face, 

"Well. Have you changed the world yet?" 

It was one of those moments that forced reality upon me.  If I had learned anything from looking into the faces of HIV orphans and impoverished widows, it was that the world and all it's suffering would not be easily moved. Sometimes the bleakness is overwhelming.  I have wandered around in third world countries for several more years now, in very good company. The arms are strong on the side of good.  And yet, the headlines in the newspaper still make me bow my head.  The streets that I drive past make me shudder. I hunger for a better world.  The children with their hands on my window in the middle of the intersection still make my heart break a little every time. 

Sometimes, it just doesn't feel like the world is changing. At least not for good. The headlines look worse. The poverty more grievous.  The research despairing. I can see the reality of it out my car window every single day. 

I read these words by Oswald Chambers this week.  I read them amid headlines that will make you weep and sorrows that seem inexplicable.  I read them amid a world that seems so stubborn to change its' ways of sorrow and shame. It is the summation of our hope.  

Perseverance means more than just hanging on, which may be only exposing our fear of  letting go and falling.  Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered.  Our greatest fear is not that we will be damned, but that somehow Jesus Christ will be defeated.  Also, our fear is that the very thing our Lord stood for - love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men - will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us.  Then there is the call to spiritual perseverance. A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that  God will never be defeated. 
- (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Feb 22)

Take heart friends. In the end, good wins.  


Henry and Lisa said...

I love you! You guys have been made no my heart a lot. XOXO

Henry and Lisa said...

I love you! You guys have been made no my heart a lot. XOXO