Sunday, January 15, 2012

To the Least of These

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ John 16:33

Have you ever really considered this verse? It's takes the "golden rule" to a whole new level, doesn't it?  " did it to me." 

Consider the following:

On December 23, a little girl was reported missing in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Rescue workers and volunteers searched for her to no avail. Several days later, it was reported that she had been through one of the most brutal, gruesome murders anyone could ever imagine.  " did it to me."

This little girl lived in an area with 24 homes, 15 of which housed convicted sex offenders. " did it to me."

Last week in Atlanta, Georgia, 42,000 high school and college age students raised over $3,000,000 to help end the slavery and sex trafficking of young girls around the world - including right here in the U.S. Girls as young as five who are being exposed repeatedly to horrific acts of violence.  " did it to me."

This past week, a little girl here in the U.S. from the Ivory Coast was refused care at a local hospital because she is a medical mission baby and doctors didn't want to take responsibility for her. " did to me."

And just yesterday, I read an article about a child with medical disabilities who is being denied a life-saving transplant because a medical team doesn't believe that her quality of life is such that it should be saved - even though her parents and family members want to provide the organ and the financing for the procedure. " did it to me."

My heart breaks when I hear these stories. They are the essence of depravity and yet God says that whatever we do the least of these...we do it to Him. Shouldn't that frighten us? Shouldn't it make us be better? And yet how often are we content to go through life pretending that none of this exists. That we are above it. That it doesn't happen here. But it does.

When are we going to stand up and make it stop? When are we going to be the voice for those who do not have one? When will we make a difference?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Beginnings

I was struck a few minutes ago about the contrast of January and new beginnings. I mean, everyone knows that you make resolutions on New Year's Eve because January 1st is a new beginning. But as I walked around my neighborhood on an unseasonably warm evening, I noticed how everything is...dead. Oh sure, there was still the occasional left over Christmas display which was cheery, but the trees were dead, the grass is dead, there was ice and a few patches of left over snow. It could all be a little depressing if you think about it.

I will admit though that I did find beauty in the peacefulness. After the busy weeks leading up to the holidays, the chaos of a short first week back at work, and a very long day of training today, I was feeling suffocated. I truly enjoyed the week off between Christmas and New Year. I left the laptop at work and enjoyed downtime with my family, but it didn't take long for the pressures of life push their way back in as soon as schedules returned to normal.

I didn't make resolutions this year. No new resolve to lose weight. No new plan for how to have better devotions. No set reading list or bar to measure my success at any type of literary endeavor - reading or writing. In all honesty, probably because I knew they would be destined to fail. It's not that I wouldn't love to do any one of those things. I just know that at this season in my life, life is taking an extreme amount of energy on its own. Why complicate it?

Proverbs 16:9 says, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

I have always understood this verse to mean that a man can set a goal, but it is up to God how he gets there (or if he gets there at all). Today I am seeing it in a new light. It's a very slight difference, but it changes everything. What if it means that man can plan his course and how to get there, but if he trusts God to lead him where God wants him to go, the steps he takes will be determined as in sure and solid?

For me there is a peace in that. As I trust God to lead me where He wants me to go - not where I want Him to take me, I can be assured that I will be where He wants me to be. It's kind of a cool thought, isn't it?

So my new beginnings this year, aren't really new beginnings at all. It's all about a new perspective.