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Will you allow yourself to feel the pain?

September 5, 2010

Yesterday I received a post from a friend about the rape of children in the Congo. My heart broke, my stomach churned, and I realized I could not even click on the link he provided to read the news story about the incident.

I did not want to feel.

I did not want to care.

I did not want to be involved.

I knew that feeling, caring, involvement, and maybe even information would cost me.
It wasn’t a price I wanted to pay right then.

I closed my web browser and walked away. I turned my back and said,
No! I don’t want the comfort of my day disrupted.

I wanted to clean my house, read my book, do my laundry in my electricity operated machines, sit in comfort, listen to music, eat more food than I need, and not care about anyone else.

I wanted it to be about me. The problem is, I am not the only one that matters.

My heart would not let go. All day I kept thinking about the story. As I read a book about sex trafficking my heart broke further. I learned about another tragic situation where boys in Afghanistan are valued for sexual pleasure and treated in ways my American culture would define as rape and interaction with pedophiles. My stomach churned and I actually felt physically sick.

I wanted to turn away.

Apathy, complacency, being luke warm all sounded like great options. I didn’t want to feel what I was feeling.

Even though I had prayed for it,
right then I didn’t want my heart to break for the things that break God’s heart.

This week alone I have had to walk through many situations where I feel utterly powerless:

  • Rape in Congo
  • Earthquake in New Zealand
  • Flooding in Pakistan
  • Treating of “dancing boys” in Afghanistan
  • Human trafficking across the world
  • Abuse in churches
  • A friend’s marriage that is failing
  • The 8 month old son of friends going to the ER and having emergency surgery
  • A friend leaving and moving cross-country
  • Death
  • Homelessness in my own community
  • Watching kids playing in water and knowing much of world doesn’t even have water to drink

When we feel like this we can turn our backs and harden our hearts.

The pain of what we see, hear, smell, and feel becomes overwhelming.

If we were left to our own power, strength, and abilities we would probably turn away and never look back, but we can’t. We have to do something. We have to be involved. We have to be a voice. We have to care.

Children who are traumatized and dying, need us.

Women who are abused, need us.

Those without food, water, shelter, medical care, and hope, need us.

Stories need to be told … Information needs to shared … Time needs to be given
Resources need to be gathered … People need to act!

Apathy, complacency, and hard hearts are the easy way out. Will you allow yourself to feel the pain? Will you stay, look, listen, feel, hope, pray, and care with me for just a minute, or two, or five? Will you allow your heart to open, soften, and break?

I don’t want to either, but I know I need to, they need me to

… it is the only way things will change.

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