Monday, May 4, 2009

Do You Shudder?

I wonder how many of us are living numb in a state of willing ignorance. We hear so much. So many stories of death. So many statistics of despair. So many pictures of grief. Sometime I wish there were no Internet or long-distance communication so that all I'd have to worry about is my own little town. I'm overwhelmed. I don't think God created me to take in this much despair. My brain just can't keep processing these statistics: 1.2 million children are trafficked each year as slaves; 854 million people are hungry today; more than 1 billion live on less than $1 per day. 1.2 million. 854 million. 1 billion. A blur of numbers. I am numb. The words are meaningless. I've hit capacity for caring.

And so I shut down. I've heard one statistic too many, and I just can't take it anymore. I don't know what to do, I can't quite believe in the problems, so I do nothing. I feel myself developing a protective film that covers my eyes and anesthetizes my heart. If I saw the problems in person, if I looked in the children's eyes, I would shudder. But I only see numbers, not faces.

And I don't shudder anymore.

I stay half ignorant on purpose. I skim the news, not letting myself read too much. I glean enough to seem informed: "Oh, yes, it's just a shame what's going on in Africa." I don't get my heart involved. I stay aloof and in control. Separate.

Because if I let go, if I find out, I know what would happen. I would crack. I would break. I'd looking in to the ugly eyes of poverty and grasp my head in my hands and shout, "Why, God, why?" But I can't keep doing that every day. And the bad news just keeps on coming. And I don't know what to do. I can't keep caring and keep being broken.

God, I'm just not up to the task.
[taken from "Hope Lives" by Amber Van Schooneveld]

"Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." -James 4:17

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