Friday, 1 June 2012

What Can I Do?

Tomorrow I plan to go to an International Justice Mission Volunteer Development Day.  I'm going to go find out what I can do in regards to a problem involving an estimated 27 million people, how I can help put an end to slavery, sexual exploitation, injustice and oppression.  That's big.  That's taken a  lot of courage.

Our world has a lot of problems and injustice abounds.  I'm often saddened to see that there are so few people doing something about it.  But I do have a small understanding of why this happens because I have experienced it myself.

In our comfortable North American lives, we hear about these things.  Not often, and I think we can say that there are people very ignorant of the world's problems, but we do.  It isn't always plastered over the evening news, or over Yahoo news.  But injustice happens and most of us aren't wholly ignorant.

We are however so absorbed in our comfortable lives here that we have a hard time grasping these global issues.  We have a hard time comprehending problems that involve and affect millions or even billions of people.  And since we can't even comprehend it, we can hardly imagine coming up with solutions that would even make a dent in these problems.  It's so big and overwhelming, we don't know what to do.

Some have a real desire for change, have a real desire to do something, but just don't know where to start.  And some think that even if they do do something, it really won't make that big of a difference.  Even if they can help a few, there's still millions suffering.  Some feel they are too busy and don't have adequate time to give.  Let someone else do it.  Yet others wonder if it's actually God's will or calling upon their lives, so they sit and wait for some sort of audible voice to tell them what to do.  In the end, since they feel so helpless, most will just do nothing and try to ignore the problem.

Once we start meddling in the injustice of this world, once we start learning or doing something about slavery, exploitation, poverty, hunger, or disease, we start to experience a measure of discomfort.  Sometimes, we may even experience some pain.  I think all of us would agree that we don't like to experience physical or emotional pain.  But if we want to make a difference in this world, we have to risk pain.  We have to be willing to stare suffering in the face for what it is and feel it.  We have to be willing to let it hurt.  Sadly, most of us are weak and don't have the courage to do that.

The problems we see in this world are not just slavery, poverty, exploitation, hunger, disease and the like.  There is an enemy who is out to steal, kill and destroy and he has billions of lives in his grasp.  And although we in North America may be free of those things, he has us in his grasp too.  Satan twists our minds and turns them upon ourselves.  God commands us in His Word to seek justice and free people from oppression, to care for the orphan and the widow, but we are so focused on our own comforts that we can hardly bring ourselves to do it.  We hoard our time and resources so we can spend them on our own selfish pleasures, and although we have such an abundance, we can't seem to sacrifice more than dollars and cents to help alleviate the suffering in this world. 

When I read the Gospels though, I see that Jesus was very active in alleviating suffering. Very often, He relieved someone first of their physical suffering and they came to believe in Him through that. He fed the crowds, healed the sick, and cast out demons. Some of the apostles did the same thing.  Now we can't all heal the way Jesus did.  We do not all have that gift.  But I believe we can use the resources He has given us to bring healing and restoration to the suffering world around us.  I believe by doing this, we can open the door to share the love of Christ and the Gospel with those who's lives we touch.  He hasn't blessed us so incredibly to spend it all on ourselves.  He has meant for us to give.

Isaiah 1:17
"learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow's cause."

Where do you stand?  What will you do?  Will you continue to make excuses about why you can't help, why now isn't a good time, why you need to save your resources for something else?  Will you continue to protect your comfort zone with bubble wrap, hoping it won't get scathed?  Or are you willing to open up your life, to sacrifice and risk pain for those who know nothing else?

It's time to start asking "What can I do?" then find an answer.