On our last night in Peru we had a team time. You know, where you sit around together and try to process through all we had seen and felt. There was a mixture of grief, anger, hopelessness, fire to change things, determination to get shoes to kids, disgust with the way we had previously lived (oblivious to all the hurt and need out there).
One of our team members was upset because he had seen some of the precious missionary friends scarf down meals due to hunger, seen one young friend with her fake crocs cut up the top so they would last longer, seen child after child hungry and sick and dirty.
It is much to process and hard to see our missionaries barely scraping by . . . suffering in a foreign land to tell those about Jesus.
We felt a mixture of hoplessness and anger.
We felt a deep desire to change things.
We closed in prayer and while we were praying I felt like God softly spoke to me, “Kasey, don’t forget what I have done for you and through you in your darkest times.”
God was showing me in their struggle, He is working.
I am by no means saying that that releases us from our duty as Christians to pour our lives out to help those in need. The Bible is more than clear on our call.
Listen to Isaiah 3:13-26 (take the time to read the whole chapter – it is scary and a reminder to us)
13The Lord takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people.
14 The Lord enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: “It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.
16 The Lord says, “The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps, with ornaments jingling on their ankles.
17 Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the Lord will make their scalps bald.”
18 In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, 19 the earrings and bracelets and veils, 20 the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, 21 the signet rings and nose rings, 22 the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses 23 and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.
24 Instead of fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding.
25 Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle.
26 The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground.
That should make me shake in my boots – you know, the brown ones? I can’t get that verse (14) about the plunder of the poor being in our houses. Ain’t that the truth?
Or the verse (18) where it says “the Lord will snatch away their finery.” OUCH!
Weirsbe on his commentary of this chapter states this “Isaiah is especially grieved because the women of the land had become more interested in social status than spiritual condition, character. The day would come when their artificial glamour would be gone and they would be sitting in their dust. (1 Peter 3:1-6)”
Ladies, we especially are responsible.
And as we are searching and planning and praying about how to help, know this:
In our struggle and in their struggle, He is working. One thing I noticed, those who didn’t have all their physical needs readily met had an open heart for God. They had a need for Him. Because of their physical need, they recognized a need for a Savior . . . Jesus. I was jealous.
One thing I am learning is the goal is not the relief of suffering or the lack of pain. The goal: 1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”
To follow in Jesus steps . . . no brown boots required.