Feeling burdened

More than 250 school girls in Nigeria were abducted by an Islamist militant group three weeks ago and what are we doing about it? How long did it take for this story to come up on our news channels? In our newspapers? How often is Africa on our radar? On our hearts? Every time I hear things like this around the world I am sad, but today I felt especially burdened and overwhelmed. I sat reading articles at my kitchen table and crying. These poor girls… some forced to marry their abductors, some sold and transported out of the country, most between the ages of 15 and 18, all scared and alone, all still missing. 

Things like this keep happening in the world around us and I find myself with such a desire to act, but with lack of direction, lack of knowledge, lack of resources, lack of availability, lack of power. I find myself thinking that there is just no way we can do enough. There is so much brokenness and bad and evil and need in the world. So. Much. Need.

What can we do as little people and how do we pick just one cause when there are so many options and what would Jesus do? It is a cliche question we grew up asking when fighting with siblings or lying to our parents, a question we had on colorful bracelets reading WWJD, but ultimately I believe it is the only question that matters. If He were still living in this world today, where would he be investing His life? His resources? His time?His love? What do we see from the example of the life He lived when He made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, when He was born in the likeness of men, when He humbled himself and found himself in human form here on this earth? (Phil 2:5-8)

Looking at the Gospels of Matthew Mark Luke and John, we see Jesus healing, feeding the masses, and performing miracles, but more importantly everywhere He went he preached the good news of love and grace and forgiveness of sins. Matthew 9 is just one example of this. Jesus just recently returned to his own city, Capernaum, when a group approached him carrying a paralytic.

“And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” –he then said to the paralytic– “Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” (Matthew 9:2-8)

Jesus’ first response “Your sins are forgiven” implies that of the two needs, sin and sickness, sin is the more fundamental problem. Ultimately all corruption, evil and death result from the entrance of sin into the world in Genesis 3. We don’t see Jesus necessarily running to every little bad thing that happens, but where He does run we see His purpose. While focusing on physical needs, He always puts a greater focus on the spiritual needs of the people he is meeting, healing, and spending time with.

I know that the every evil thing we see in the world is just evidence of a greater need for JESUS. Knowing this, how can we be His hands and feet well? How can we bring the Kingdom to Earth? What can we do so that people’s lives can be transformed by the healing power of Jesus Christ? His love is powerful. His death and resurrection are sufficient for us. He has overcome. How can we share this with others so that His good may continue to overcome the hurt in this world?


Other voices:

Why it matters – CNN

A beautiful post  & prayer by Sarah Bessey

Bring back our girls – Nicholas Kristof

BBC News



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