Wednesday, February 24, 2010
This week World Vision magazine came. I quickly sorted it out of the junk mail and thumbed through excitedly before throwing it on the coffee table. As I walked away I was hit by the shocking realization that my relationship with the words and pictures in this publication has changed dramatically in the last five years. Five years ago the magazine went right in the trash. I felt powerless to effect change and disconnected from the statistics. So why look at haunting images?
So, I had to ask myself, what has changed? I was a believer then. In a similar station of life. We go to the same church. Mostly hang out with the same people. We still have the same trashcan. And I stood there, caught off guard by the realization that I have been moving slowly down river, only to now realize that I am miles from where I started. We have heard repeatedly about the importance, in our insular worlds, of letting poverty become personal. Of letting God speak to us. Of understanding his passion for the poor. For me, that has been a process.
As we were waiting to adopt I read everything I could about eastern Africa. Personal stories. Geographies. Political history. Before traveling to Ethiopia I had been on mission trips to Mexico, Guatemala, and Albania so it wasn’t that I hadn’t seen poverty up-close. But, by the grace of God and the hand of time, the last five years have moved me. I feel that I am finally in a place where I desire to know what is going on in my world and am able to digest difficult stories and images without the toxic cocktail of shock and guilt, which had previously left World Vision magazine on the curb with the recycling.
As we continue to weigh a clear biblical mandate with wise words of caution regarding our motivations, I found this week’s realization helpful. As I earnestly seek the Lord and let him lift my eyes to what is around me, I am moved. Sometimes slowly, sometimes with great speed. Sometimes in spurts and other times more like an unsuspecting homeowner near a fault line, which creeps south each year at a nearly indiscernible speed. But I am moving. Really moving. Because my walk with God is not on a treadmill.