It’s being at your highest high, and your lowest low- both at the same time.
It’s feeling like you’re giving out so much of yourself that there’ll be nothing left to give, but also feel like nothing you do could ever be enough.
It’s your heart bursting with joy, while simultaneously being ripped from your chest.
It’s questioning a God who would leave His children to endure such heartbreaking circumstances in one moment, and in the very next, seeing how you’re completely surrounded by examples of His unfailing mercy, grace, and love.
It’s being taught by a child how to completely trust in the Lord.
It’s where darkness meets light.
It’s a mission trip to a third world country.
In one moment your heart’s breaking for the two-year-old boy who just walked two hours, barefoot to your camp, in hope of a meal of some sort. But then you turn around and see a sea of tiny brown hands reaching upwards to worship their Father, and you’re overcome with such joy that you almost forget about the child who had tugged at your heart just a moment before…. Until you glance over in another direction and see the tops of several tiny heads, tinted orange from malnourishment.
All of a sudden, the tears are flowing and you can’t pinpoint why. Joy? Sadness? Helplessness? ……..All of the above? It’s an emotional roller coaster. The whole time. Some days we put all of our efforts into singlehandedly battling world hunger. Other days we just selfishly hope that if we get tired enough, we’ll fall asleep before we have time to feel guilty about falling asleep on a bed with a full stomach.
Sometimes when I’m home in America and I’m feeling guilty about spending money on one meal that could feed a family for a week, or I buy clothes that could have fed two families for a month there’s this brief second where I wish I could go back to my life before Haiti. My life where I was blissfully ignorant to the struggles of so many people around the world. My life where my heart didn’t break for the things that break God’s. And then I think, “How lucky am I that God chose to displace my heart? How lucky am I that my heart is broken for the very things that break God’s heart? How lucky am I that I am no longer blind to those in need of His love?”
Can you imagine how different the world would be if all of our hearts were broken for what breaks God’s? We have the ability with God to transform not just our country, but the world- except we’re just too distracted in America. We’re distracted by the wrong things; and our hearts are breaking for the wrong things. Instead of using our religion to show God’s love and mercy, so many of us use our religion to justify our judgment towards people who are different than us. If we focused less on judging non-Christians for not acting like Jesus, and more on acting like Jesus ourselves, people would be more drawn to Christianity, and less alienated by the people who profess Him.
Living in America, it’s so easy to forget or pretend we don’t know what it’s like for people in other countries. Or even right here in our own country. We spend money on things we don’t need. We complain about our “first world problems.” We don’t even know how lucky we are because we don’t get out of our comfort zones long enough to have anything to compare our lives to. We truly don’t know how lucky we have it until we see how bad other people do, and how much happier they are with so much less than what we have.
How can I wake up in the morning and be so selfish that I’Il complain that I have to get up at 7am to go to a job that I’m so unbelievably blessed to have? When there’s children all over the world who have been up for hours already, working non stop and have probably already received a beating that day. How can I complain about my car that I’m incredibly lucky to have because the air conditioning is taking a long time to cool down, or that my Bluetooth on my phone won’t connect? When there are so many people all over the world walking as far as I’m driving to get where they need to be? How can I say I’m hungry when my stomach growls for the first time that day just because I’m used to eating as much as I want every day? When there are people all over the world who haven’t eaten in days. We may know what the feeling of discomfort is when we don’t eat for a while, but most of us will never know the true feeling of hunger. How can I groan at doing putting away dishes that just came out of a machine that washed them for me, when there are children who have been cleaning the same piles of dishes all day, when they didn’t even get to take a bite off of one of them?
The list of our first world “problems” goes on. We are so blessed to live the lives we do. As Christians, our prayer should be for God to break our hearts for what breaks His. As Christians, it is our job to take care of the least of these. The Insanity of God author, Nik Ripken, put it perfectly: “You can’t imagine what the world is like when you don’t show up.” God blesses us, and we are supposed to use our blessing to bless others. It’s not, “My cup runneth over, so let me just get another cup.” So don’t let the words, “Break my heart for what breaks yours” just be another line we sing. Instead, let it be your prayer, and let it be shown in everything you do.
By: Kayla Farris