Today, I just want to send out a word of prayer for the people of Nepal, struggling to rebuild their homes and lives after being hit with yet another earthquake again this past week. I can’t imagine what it is like to go through that, but I do know that my heart and my prayers are with all of you.
I read an interview with a boy who was impacted, and he mentioned how finally, three weeks after the initial, devastating earthquake, people were starting to pull back together, to have hope of recovery, of return to whatever would be the new normal–and then, when, this week, another tremor shook the earth, panic ensued. Many families split by the initial impact were halved again by this one, though the injury and death count for the second were considerably lower than for the first. Whatever weakened buildings were left were now sent into the dust. Landslides swept away villages, and scientists say these landslides may continue even without further quakes as much earth and permafrost was disturbed by these two tremors. Many have lost loved ones as well as their homes and all semblance of their former lives. All of you are in my prayers.
The thing that troubles me is–many didn’t even know a second quake occurred. And many who did, upon hearing that the death count was below a hundred, seemed to write it off as a lesser disaster. Because, apparently, that’s what it takes these days to get our attention–death tolls in the thousands.
Even then, we move on after a moment of pity, with our everyday lives, not realizing that the majority of these people no longer have normal lives. They’ve been hit by something that, even once they recover, will leave an impact.
And I’m not just talking about Nepal.
It’s all that’s in the media these days–tragedy after tragedy, so much of it that we become numb. Callous. Indifferent to suffering, to the point where we’re exhausted. What’s the point of trying to change anything when things will just keep happening, just like always, over and over and over….
We’ve given up.
We’ve given up on hope, we’ve given up on selflessness, we’ve given up on rescue, we’ve given up on change, we’ve given up on the future. Most of all, I guess, we’ve given up on love. Because love is something that doesn’t let you sit back when stuff like this happens. Love doesn’t let you give up.
Love drives you to action. Love calls you to something greater. Love doesn’t let you sit back, it grabs you up and drags you out of your comfort zone into a world you never knew existed and people you never met and you only fall deeper and deeper in love because love–using it up just makes it grow bigger.
The thing is, we don’t take it seriously anymore. The word itself has lost its meaning. We use it equally to describe our ice cream and our soulmates.
The other thing about love is, a lot of times, it’s unnatural. I mean, it’s natural to love your kids or your friends or, I don’t know, your dog, but loving strangers? Loving the lost? Loving your enemies? It’s hard. It’s got to be intentional. It takes work.
In fact, love is kind of crazy, really. Rather nonsensical. Definitely dangerous. Even radical. And perhaps it could also be…revolutionary.
Jesus’ kind of love certainly was.
I’m guilty of this too. I’m just a teenager. In high school. Not even an upperclassman yet. And I’m certainly not ready to change the world. I’m not even ready to change my neighborhood or my school.
Paul wasn’t either, though. Or at least, he didn’t feel like it. But God basically told him, what the heck are you talking about?? (I’m paraphrasing). Of course you’re not ready!! And you never will be!! Here’s the thing, Paul–My grace is sufficient. You have no idea what I’m about to do with you. What you don’t understand is, My power–it’s made perfect in weakness. This isn’t about what you can do–it’s about what I can do. So get up, and get moving.
God asks, Don’t you remember? Don’t you remember when the scales fell from your eyes in Damascus? Don’t you remember when I used you to spread the Word to the Gentiles? Don’t forget–don’t forget what I can do. And by the way–you haven’t even seen the half of it.
Maybe I can’t change the world. But I can change my small piece of it. Just a little.
Why can I do this? Because I can’t. Because it’s not actually me.
It doesn’t matter if I fail every test, bomb every audition, miss every award–maybe the whole point is for me to be a Paul. A Gideon. A David, a Moses, a Nehemiah. All of them were convinced they couldn’t. All of them had everything going against them. All of them were destined to fail. And that’s exactly why God chose them.
I recently experienced something that, for the sake of a friend, I can’t talk about in detail, but it opened my eyes to how numb I get. Maybe it’s because of these tragedies, maybe it’s because of the media, maybe it’s just because of everyday culture–but I’ve grown deaf. Deaf to the silent cries. My friend needed me, and I wasn’t there. All it would’ve taken was me picking up on the cues, and asking one question–but I was silent. Maybe I was too afraid, maybe I was too busy, maybe I was just lazy. But now, I’m kicking myself, because I should have listened, and I should have asked. I just…didn’t care enough. Didn’t love enough.
I promise I’ll do better next time.
I’m still learning that. Learning what love is, learning how to do it. It’s a crazy, powerful, dangerous thing. And I think we could all use a little more of it.
You might not change the world. But you might just change something.