And then that reminded me of when I was a child, I wanted to grow up and go and work in Romanian orphanages. I'd forgotten about that. I couldn't even remember why my child-self even specified Romania?
So I googled it. And discovered that the plight of orphans in Romania was big news at the beginning of the 90s, when I was a child, so that must have been why I heard about it. I never knew that until now.
And then I read more. And maybe I shouldn't have, but I read more. And I looked a pictures.
And after reading about an orphan who is now in his twenties, but never recovered developmentally after being mostly alone in a cot for the first year of his life.... I wept.
I'm still crying now. At some points I can barely see the screen through my tears.
I just thought of my own daughter, how joyfully she smiles back at me, her little hands reaching and touching, her little face in concentration as she learns and develops every day, as she looks into my face as I talk to her and sing to her.
And I think of how I get sad if she has to cry for one minute, and how I worry about if she's getting everything she needs, if I'm giving her everything I possibly can.
The thought of children not having this, not even having one person to hold them and smile at them and touch them. I can hardly bear the thought of it.
There are still children in institutions around the world today. This is still happening. Tiny babies with no-one to love them and hold them.
And at the same time as it makes me cry out inside, "We have to do something!", it paralyses me.
What do we do about it? How can we do something?
I just want to go to them and love them and hold them.
And if I, a flawed human, can feel this much grief and love for them, I can only imagine how God feels towards them.
All this makes it painfully obvious to me that I am lacking any sort of practical knowledge of how to make a difference in the world. A difference that really counts.
Before this I thought of myself as compassionate and charitably-minded. But what am I really doing? This goes deeper than just giving a bit of money, or going on a volunteer-holiday. I don't even know how to help people in my own city, let alone the world. I call myself a follower of Jesus, and yet I walk past the charities outside supermarkets looking the other way, hoping they won't stop me.
If we really got the reality of what the world is like beyond our comfortable doorsteps, of how so many people actually live, how could we continue to spend everything on ourselves and live just for ourselves without feeling sick to our stomachs at the injustice?!
We don't get it, obviously. Our senses have been dulled by the overdose of comfortable living. We think hunger is when we skipped breakfast and had to wait for our lunch. We think poor is not being able to have a Playstation AND an Xbox. We think lonely is when only 1 person likes our Facebook status.
I don't blame you. I don't blame you even if you read this blog post and it stirs nothing, if you feel nothing. Apathy is the devil's favourite game, and he's perfected it. We've all been shrouded in the fog of indifference, and believed that it is normal life; that the sum of the gospel is that Jesus died to make us comfortable. I don't blame you - but be challenged.
Think about how much you care for your own family, your own children. We should be loving everyone that much, and more.
We need new hearts. Bigger hearts. We need God's heart in place of ours.
I don't know what to do with this heart break right now, other than to pray. To pray that God wakes us up and sends us out with His love and His heart and His Spirit. And to pray and trust that God comforts his hurting children until we get there.
Jesus: You’d better be on your guard against any type of greed, for a person’s life is not about having a lot of possessions.
A wealthy man owned some land that produced a huge harvest. He often thought to himself, “I have a problem here. I don’t have anywhere to store all my crops. What should I do? I know! I’ll tear down my small barns and build even bigger ones, and then I’ll have plenty of storage space for my grain and all my other goods. Then I’ll be able to say to myself, ‘I have it made! I can relax and take it easy for years! So I’ll just sit back, eat, drink, and have a good time!’”
Then God interrupted the man’s conversation with himself. “Excuse Me, Mr. Brilliant, but your time has come. Tonight you will die. Now who will enjoy everything you’ve earned and saved?”
This is how it will be for people who accumulate huge assets for themselves but have no assets in relation to God.
Think about those crows flying over there: do they plant and harvest crops? Do they own silos or barns?.....Remember that you are more precious to God than birds!
....If God takes such good care of such transient things, how much more you can depend on God to care for you, weak in faith as you are. Don’t reduce your life to the pursuit of food and drink; don’t let your mind be filled with anxiety....
Since you don’t need to worry—about security and safety, about food and clothing—then pursue God’s kingdom first and foremost, and these other things will come to you as well.
My little flock, don’t be afraid. God is your Father, and your Father’s great joy is to give you His kingdom.
That means you can sell your possessions and give generously to the poor. You can have a different kind of savings plan: one that never depreciates, one that never defaults, one that can’t be plundered by crooks or destroyed by natural calamities. Your treasure will be stored in the heavens, and since your treasure is there, your heart will be lodged there as well.
I’m not just talking theory. There is urgency in all this.