A Brunch, Tears, and the Question "Who will go?"
Bright flashes of color adorned the tables.
Clever “Bloom where you are planted” signs were posted.
Decorated seed packets were set as reminders.
A delicious menu was planned.
A panelist of women speakers was scheduled.
Everything we ready for the End of the Year Women’s brunch for the seminary wives and female students. I had worked hard and allowed my creative juices to flow to make this a special morning for graduates and wives of graduates. I was pleased with how things were turning out.
But, at 8 am the morning of, why could I not stop crying? Why were waves of frustration, despair, anger, and bitterness spilling out of me in the form of non-stop weeping?
The last time I had coordinated an event like this one, it was for women who have absolutely no support system. It was for women who would ask for every ounce of the leftovers to take home to their hungry family. It was to proclaim hope in Christ to women who had been sexually abused as little girls, grown up floating from one abusive relationship to the next, all the while accumulating more and more children along the way, who they were desperately trying to care for in the midst of being broken and hurting and POOR in the process–Women who are heroes in my eyes as they daily face the challenges of trying to raise kids in a gang-ridden, drug trafficking, dirty, dangerous city. It was for these women that it was my joy to serve them and do something special for them when LITERALLY NO ONE ELSE served them. ever.
And now, here I am doing it for women who could have eaten breakfast at home (they have refrigerators full of food). Women who could have just called a Christian friend to chat with and pray with instead of attending the event. Women who have the option of tons of different Bible studies, support groups, book clubs, Sunday school classes where they could have been fed rich wisdom from the Word and been inspired. Don’t get me wrong, these women have become dear to me. I admire their walks with God and their servant’s hearts.
But that morning, something in me cried, “THERE IS SOMETHING SO WRONG WITH THIS SITUATION!!!”
Why is it that every where you turn there is a Christian church, a Christian Bible Study ministry, a Christian homeschool co-op, a Christian book club and who knows what other Christian thing to do here?
Why is there NOTHING in Newark (and many other inner city places in America) or in Bali, Indonesia, or Bangladesh, or southern Thailand??? Ok, maybe not NOTHING. Maybe one or two brave souls who have ventured out into these dark, deserted, forgotten places that are parched and thirsty for the eternal waters that God has promised to pour out from us.
Why is it that in this area there is SO much wealth of Christian knowledge, resources, or church plants being started?
Meanwhile, little girls are getting raped in my neighborhood. Teenage girls are deciding to have abortions because there is no one telling them the truth that the little baby inside of them is just that, a baby. Young men long for male affirmation, and since they don’t even know of of a God-fearing Christian man to get it from, they find it in the local homie who affirms them for mugging the Mexican on his way home from work.
Saturday morning I was crying out to God, “Are you not calling loud enough?!?!” Who will go? Who will respond to the call to death? death of comfort. death of stability. death of security. death of a paycheck, health insurance and a parsonage. death of staying close to family and friends. WHO WILL DIE?????
If anyone is waiting for “the call” on what God wants you to do with that your life, your education, your gifts and abilities,
I just read it.
Therefore GO and make disciples of ALL NATIONS (not just the Southeastern United States, also known as the Bible belt)
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must DENY THEMSELVES and take up their cross and follow me.”
“If anyone does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters-yes, even their own life-such a person cannot be my disciple.” (yes, this means that you may not end up in the same state or even country as your parents)
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (I know a whole lot of practical “orphans” and “widows” in Newark right now, and I have found that in the very caring of them, THAT is the key to keeping from being polluted by the world’s wisperings for more comfort, more security, more safety.)
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us (if you live in America and you know Christ this has already happened!) THAT your ways may be known ON EARTH, your salvation AMONG ALL NATIONS.” (not so that it can all be horded in one place)
This may sound bitter. and angry. and judgmental. maybe it is. but maybe it is burning passion from God welling up in me that must find a voice. an outlet. a platform. WHO WILL GO????
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
He said, “GO and tell this people:
Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving/
Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
**My remarkable sister-in-law, who left home, friends, and family to go with her husband, two kids (and now another one on the way), to Southeast Asia wrote a response to this post. Her perspective is so timely and eloquently written as she writes from one who has lived in a third world country for the past six months.