new normal

I was reading a friend’s blog today, and thought I would share it here.  What God is doing in and through Tonya is inspiring.  She became a Christian 4 years ago and is preparing to move to Africa this summer.  I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing from her!

new normal.

“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as he did.” -1 John 2:6

Friday night I picked up a pastor that we are partnering with from Gulu, Uganda to take him to our Radical Small Group. The first thing he said when we got in my SUV was “nice truck”. I felt like he punched me in the stomach. This is when you know your heart is changing. Do you ever remember being excited about having a nice, new vehicle and smiling when people would notice?!? I certainly do. Not so much today.

While we were driving along, we passed not one, but two, massive U-Haul storage centers with fleets of trucks sitting outside. He asked what that was for and I proceeded to tell him that here, in America, when we have too much stuff to fit into our homes, we pay money to place it in a facility such as this. I realized what I had just said and felt punched yet again. Double punch.. I have one. He asked about the trucks. Yup, we use them to move our many things from one home to another. He mentioned how if only he had one of those trucks that are just sitting there in Gulu they could transport food. Turns out they have a piece of land that produces some food but it is 30 miles away. He has no vehicle. Are you getting the picture? If not, it looks like this.

He shared his testimony with our group. To say this man is a messenger of the Lord is an understatement. But that is another story in itself. There was a point toward the end where he was talking about how he had no appetite due to the things he saw and experienced. He began explaining all the things we have heard before; begging children who haven’t eaten for days, mother’s nursing naked babies who were so famished there was certainly no milk in their breasts, children who have never before slept on a mattress, let alone had a blanket. I began to feel sick, like I was going to vomit. I couldn’t believe that I could eat in my abundance when I knew what I knew, and have seen what I’ve seen. How could I still have an appetite when this man who has little to nothing himself can’t eat at the mention of such atrocities? He spoke on James chapter 5, and how he never wanted to have anything that would testify against him. I am feeling pretty beat up now, as I am certain he just slugged me in my gut once more. The Holy Spirit that is. I felt utterly and completely convicted of the things I am holding onto that will no doubt be used against me. I began weeping inside. How could this..

be more important than this?

..or this?

Here he is fetching his water far from his home. DO YOU SEE THAT?

As he was speaking I could not get these images out of my head, and I began to think to myself how… HOW could I send this man back to that water as I sit here watching my TV and going on with my normal? I was now shaking, crying, trying not to throw up, and most importantly, completely convicted like never before. I am so thankful to God for changing me in this moment, because it was then that I understood the difference between worldly and heavenly, I mean really understood it, and understood with my whole heart where I want to store up my treasure. It was then that I realized I had to act immediately.

To add to that, our group leader then told us all of how our adopted pastor in Kenya had sent her an email the day before because there was no more food and they were hungry. His family and 20 orphans have no food. NO FOOD. Here they are, just so that you can see they are real; real people and real children with real dreams……… starving.

I know this is uncomfortable, and that many of you are thinking right now that the Lord would not ask you to give up your TV, or that I am being legalistic in my interpretation of scripture. My response to that is the poor, and what we should do for them, is mentioned 178 times in my bible and is absolutely not to be ignored. So many times I hear people say they don’t know what to do to make a difference. I don’t think it’s that we don’t know, it’s that we are not willing to act. We are not willing to truly sacrifice our comfort for another in need. Our normal is so ingrained into us that we don’t even understand that our very worst here is their very best- a very best that they cannot even imagine. And so I pose a challenge to us all. Lets contemplate our normal here in the US and what it looks like compared to the rest of the world, and lets decide to change it. I personally now know that my normal must change. I simply will not, I can not, live like this any more at the expense of my brothers and sisters. Yes, I truly believe our comfort is at the expense of our fellow humans. When will we decide that this is not okay; that this is not how Jesus walked? While we live normally here, they die there. 26,000 children every day of hunger and preventable disease.

Imagine if we all sold our flat screen TV’s and video game boxes and jewelery etc etc etc etc etc etc etc. IMAGINE how many people could eat. IMAGINE how many people would live. I know some of you don’t have flat screens, and that so many of you already do so much. We can do more. We MUST do more. So much more that our normal is no longer normal.

Jesus told the self righteous young man in Mark chapter 10 to “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” I believe Jesus means what He says.

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