Horror. Sadness. Anxiety. Anger. Guilt. With these emotions, I watched religious fanatics take over the ravaged land of Afghanistan leaving women, girls, Christians, and the marginalized desperately scrambling for their lives.
This crisis is just the most recent example of pain, injustice, and all that is wrong in our world. The latest that eclipses many others: an earthquake in the already devastated nation of Haiti; Chinese Christians in re-education camps; Indonesian citizens dying outside hospitals for lack of beds, oxygen, and vaccines; flames destroying entire towns in California; Lebanon in economic, social, and political downfall. And all this exacerbated by a continuing global pandemic.
What does an ordinary western woman do with this reality? How can I help while attending to my own responsibilities and needs? I offer five small things I am doing hoping something might spur you on to your own version of love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
Lament gives me an appropriate way to express anger and sadness. It creates an avenue to enter into the sufferings of the world, the poor, the hurting, the dying, and the persecuted, while pointing me back to the God who sees all and controls all. I use the words of the Psalmist and others when I have none of my own.
I found this one from Velvet Ashes meaningful as well.
Prayer feels like it isn’t enough but it is something I can do. Teacher and author, Beth Moore, said this week on Twitter: “Take that angst, grief, concern, bafflement & indignation to the feet of Jesus & let them tumble forth in pleas for mercy, action & leadership, knowing the Spirit intercedes according to God’s will. Just show up at the throne and groan. But show up.”
Here are some prayer lists I used this week:
It feels wrong to enjoy my good life when others are losing theirs. Yet gratitude helps me maintain a right perspective. It does not say, “Thank God I’m not like that person” but rather, “I recognize all that I have is from the grace of God and can be taken away at any moment.”
This attitude challenges me to steward my gifts for the benefit of others and reduce my complaining about my own particular set of hardships.
The magnitude of the circumstances can be so overwhelming, I do nothing. But everyone has a lane, a sphere of influence, a circle of friends. Many of us in the West have extra dollars we can spare. This is my lane—sharing resources (being diligent to fact check first) and directing others to Jesus and his Word.
Find something that matches your style, your gifts, your knowledge, and then do what you can with the resources you have. Maybe you are already assisting in another crisis or you can find a way to help at these sites:
Hello USA (Select Resettlement Services to find one in your area)
Here are some agencies working on the ground from sources I trust (but please do your own research):
Agape Flights (Haiti)
Only God can carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. I can only do so much. Too much pain and suffering can lead to a numb heart if I don’t take time for soul care. Author Kaitlyn Schiess describes this tension:
There is such a wide difference between an attitude of “Okay, enough of the sad stuff, let’s focus on something good!” and “I have been mourning many tragedies in a uniquely personal and constant way for the past year, so I am finding a small spark of joy to practice hope.”
I now read my news instead of watch it. I take walks and I express my emotions in writing. If you are dealing with your own personal crisis, leave this one to others. Find what works for you. Take breaks. Step back.
Father God, show us what we can do to help others in this or any crisis. Have mercy, dear Lord.