Saturday, 8 March 2014

No Words

Sometimes there are no words for the things that we hear and witness living in this culture.  I've attempted this entry a few times now and just can't seem to find a way to articulate my thoughts.  So read along with me if you will and maybe we will figure this out together.

It began earlier this week when a friend of ours stopped by to tell us some village news.  She said that a local family had been celebrating a wedding on a boat cruise down the Nile the previous evening.  The boat hit a rock and the family's adult son fell into the water.  He could not be found.  The entire village continued the search for days following.

Such ultimate happiness and such devastating grief in one moment.  No words…

Midweek we were informed that the entire Egyptian political cabinet had resigned.  Of course, there are varying opinions about why, but the new fragile government once again experienced another setback.  One very practical example is that this somehow affected all of the garbage collectors in the country who then went on strike.  
Alongside the roads...

Egypt has many amazing sites, but the garbage piles are not one of them.  Imagine a city of 24 million with no trash pick up.  It takes only days before it becomes an unimaginable health hazard.  Our city is half a million and there are piles of trash everywhere.  The goats are eating as fast as they can, but they simply can't keep up.  

Flies have begun to swarm through the village streets and disease can only be around the corner.

Such promise for a people determined to change and such stagnation for those who adopt the philosophy "mish mushkeeltee" (not my problem).  No words…

The most difficult event took place in a neighborhood of one of our friends.  A 4 year old girl was playing with her friends (boys and girls) in her home.  As they were playing she lifted up her t-shirt.  Her father witnessed this and flew into a rage that she had "shamed" the family.  He murdered her, wrapped her body in a rug and put it on the doorstep of the nearby mosque.

My friend said that they had noticed the rug outside the mosque as they were walking by that day, but that was not an unusual sight.  

Even now as I type this, I find the actions of this "father" incomprehensible. His unmarried (preschool) daughter had revealed her body to a male thus bringing shame on the family.  The only way for "honor" to be returned (in his mind) was to kill her.  He is now sitting in prison awaiting his trial.

A little girl playing and laughing, then snuffed out and discarded.  No words…

I spent some time sitting on our patio staring out at the horizon breathing a prayer.  "Lord, what do you say when grief comes fast and swift like the current of a raging river?"  "What are your words for a country longing to be free, but their opinions for solution pile up in every corner creating more problems than progress?"  "What do you say to a man whose concept of god requires him to provide his own salvation for his family, taking a life in order to gain it?"

The sense of despair I felt was almost palpable.  

"It's too much."  
"The task is too great. It would take 50 lifetimes to affect this culture in a significant way."
"I'm not cut out for this."
"In fact, I'm not feeling compassionate at all in this moment.  I want to slug somebody."

I did the thing that is wise to do when one doesn't know what to do.  I opened my Bible.  

1 Corinthians says: "All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too...
"...Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part."
Life on life is what we do here.  We laugh, we celebrate, we sweat, we mourn…together.  God in His graciousness has dispatched His ambassadors throughout the world to offer His compensation for a people robbed of peace, joy, assurance; to rescue them from fatalism and hopelessness.  
I'm not meant to create the change on my own.  No one can do that.  No government can do that.  God continues to seek out those who need reconciliation.  I am a facilitator of His message. I simply share the heart of my Father.  As I have freely received, I now freely give…words of life, words of consolation, words of forgiveness, words of hope. 

I'm so thankful to Jesus for all He is to me and to those soon to meet Him…no words.

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