How many of us have seen the ocean, the grand canyon, a long country road, a waterfall, traveled on an airplane, felt the thrill of stepping onto the soil of another country, or even taking a weekend road trip? If you are like me you may take those precious opportunities for granted.
I was out to dinner last night with some precious women and we began to talk about the heart breaking reality that many many people in this world will never see anything beyond their neighborhoods and city streets. They will live and die there. Never getting to feel the rush of beholding a towering snowy mountain, a flowing river, a crashing wave, sand under their feet, or standing on a street where no one speaks English and nothings looks or smells familiar. When we are blessed to experience these moments we are experiencing part of God’s creative nature and His MASSIVENESS!!!! They will never (on this side of eternity) experience that.
Years ago I went on a mission trip to Iasi, Romania. We took a group of high school kids out of the concrete cinder block city to a sports camp in the hills a few hours away. I will NEVER forget the awe and wonder on their faces as they saw fields of green grass, a meadow of sunflowers, and rolling hills. One day I was walking to the soccer fields with a few of the Romanian young gals and we stepped over a small stream that was trickling over the rocks and dropped down a few inches. One girl stopped dead in her tracks and exclaimed “LOOK LOOK a WATERFALL!”. WOW. Never in a million years would I have even noticed that little stream none the less claimed it was a waterfall. But that was the closest she has ever come to experiencing the wonders of God’s creation and she stood in amazement.
For several years, I was unable to leave Memphis because of Dax’s health. We did not want to take him too far from the hospital when he could get critical at anytime. Then he was listed on the transplant list for over 1 year and we had to be within 30 min of the hospital. After transplant he was in and out of the hospital for over a year. So I was home bound and hospital bound for over 3 years. Mark took the other kids out-of-town several times and even went on a few vacations with them and his family. I did not want to go or leave Dax, so I made the choice to stay. I don’t recall being really upset about not being able to leave town but I am sure I had an occasional pity party about it. God’s grace was and is present in the moment when you need it. And I needed it in those moments. He was faithful to meet me where I was and love on me in those moments.
I do however, remember the first weekend we got in the car and drove out-of-town for a weekend in Hot Springs. That trip was followed by a Make a Wish Trip to Disney and then a gift of a get away for me to CA to visit a dear friend. (I was making up for lost time =) ) Every time I left my surroundings I felt refreshed, renewed, restored and re-energized. I wonder how many people living in my own neighborhood have never had that feeling????
Can you imagine what it might feel like to never see the wonders of God’s creation? As Christ followers what can we do to bring hope and joy to those who have not seen it with their eyes? How can we help them stand in awe of God’s creation? What can we do to help a teenager believe there is more to this world than what they have seen for the last 15 yrs of their life? What would it look like to take a group of women who have never been out of their neighborhood on a weekend road trip? How can we love on the kiddos in our own cities who have never seen anything outside of their homes and schools?
The honest answer is I don’t fully know. But I think we need to ask ourselves what God would have us do to love on the poor and oppressed in our cities and around the world. We must keep ourselves clothed in compassion as we interact with them. We DO NOT know the realities of their day-to-day lives. It is not profitable to stand in judgment. We need to look at Christ’s example, humble ourselves and go to them. Like He did. He left His place in glory and came down to us…..so we could see glory in Him (See John 1:1-7) !!!!!! I hope and pray that as I interact with those who have not seen the wonders of God in nature, that they might see the wonders of God in me. As believers we need to be a walking reflection of His Creativity, Beauty and Hope!