I downloaded a free book yesterday. It’s a habit of mine. Today I read that book. Was just going to read a few chapters. I read the whole thing. I cannot shake this feeling, the burden, this weight, this knowledge that the eyes of my heart have been closed, lulled to sleep by comfort, my idea that I “do my part”.
On more than one occasion I put my Kindle aside, I did NOT want to read anymore. This is too much, I don’t want to know this much evil, this much pain, this much suffering. I can’t read anymore. My heart hurts and my mind reels. I can NOT stop reading. All I am doing is reading, not living this. But someone did, someone is living it now, at this very moment I am snug in my bed with my perfectly made cup of coffee. Isn’t the absolute very least thing I can do is to read their stories.
I read about green flip flops. And I think of my tub crammed full of flip flops in every color. I have never not had shoes. I think about the brand new pair of running shoes I just bought. I don’t run. I am thinking about it. Needed the shoes, you know, just in case I actually decide to run, for fun, as a hobby.
I read about bathing in filthy water, no clean water to quench a parched throat in the desert. No water to give a dehydrated child. And I realize that I have never ever found myself questioning the cool, clear, life sustaining, water that will flow from any number of faucets in my home.
I read about sickness, disease, dying. And I think about my husband, who got bit by a tick. He got very sick so I called a doctor, went to see him and then shopped in a store filled with anything I would want to purchase, in the air conditioning, buying lots of things we didn’t need, while we waited for an antibiotic that would heal him rapidly.
I read about evil, pure evil. Cruelty. Disgusting things that I cannot imagine any human being capable of. I thank God that though I thought I had experienced some evil in my life, that I had not endured what I was reading. I marvel at the safety and security of my home. Of my life. Of the abundant blessings God has bestowed on me. Thank you God, that my kids have not been touched by this evil.
I read and I think everyone should read this book. WAIT, not my kids. They have not lived with this kind of evil. I remember that I just thanked God they haven’t been touched by this kind of evil. This is too much. This is too much for me. Its raw, its real, its ugly, its cruel, it is evil. Yes, too much for my kids. Too much for me.
Then I remember that I once was told that people who work in 3rd world countries often censor what they share and expose to us. “Us” being Americans. If we were to see, hear and know about the real truth, the horrors, it would cause us to shut down, to close the eyes of our hearts. Its too much. The censored versions are often too much for us. So we don’t do anything. Actually, we “do” something. We close our eyes, our hearts and we turn our backs.
Once closed against the horrors of lives being lived in a way we cannot even begin to understand our eyes remained closed, not just to “over there” but to our neighbors in need. To the pain, suffering and evil right here, in our neighborhoods, in our towns, in our country. People are in need everywhere.
No, I think, everyone, to include my kids, should read this book. What would this world look like if the eyes of our hearts were open? Really opened? I think about the times my eyes of have been opened before and I wonder how they were lulled to sleep. 15%, I think. 15% lulled me to sleep. 15% closed the eyes of my heart.
Last year when I did our taxes I realized we “give” 15% of our income. Our tithe, of course. But we give 5% over that amount. And that is just the amount that we keep track of. Big pat on the back for that right? We support missionaries in East Asia, India, and sponsor a child through Compassion, just to name a few. So obviously I have seen with my eyes that there are needs and I do my part to help. Do I really need to know that evil is real, that it exists and that children live in it, with it and cannot imagine a life without it? Can’t I, through eyes half closed, give money to a need? You know, do good. Be good. Be Christ like? If I see someone in need I am willing to help. But I cannot tell you the last time I thought about sacrificial giving. That I saw a need and met it because my heart saw them, and not the need. I have money, I have things, I can give those and my heart need not ever engage. Reading this book I think of Jesus, he met people first, then the need. His heart fully engaged.
Oh the eyes of my heart have been opened in the past. At times I have seen people and then because of seeing them, I have known their need and I have been moved. Moved past giving a couple of dollars to meet their immediate need. But reading this book, I realize the eyes of my heart have been lulled to sleep by the ease of which I can “give”.
Isn’t our greatest need, our basic desire, to be known, to be real, to be heard. To know that our life matters to someone? No matter how long, how short, how comfortable, how hard, how tragic, or even how much evil we come to know, we seek to be known, to be loved. I can throw money at a problem all day long (not sure hubby would like this! 😉 Seeing the person, first? Loving the person enough to hear why there is even a reason/need for money. To hear them, their story, where they have been, where they dream to go, do they even dream anymore, now that, that is sacrificial giving, Christ like.
Passport through Darkness reveals great evil and darkness in this world. But its value to me is that is introduced me to people who have lived through it. It has opened the eyes of my heart, not to throw money at another “good project” but to beg God to show me where I can give sacrificial love. Maybe its in Sudan, maybe its in India, maybe its in fighting sex trafficking, maybe its in Fort Smith, Van Buren or to someone down the street. The “least of these” exist everywhere. The Lord and I will be working out what I am to do. Right now, I am begging God, please, don’t let the eyes of my heart to ever close again.
For a few more days the ebook is free to download. Click here for the kindle version: Passport Through Darkness