Read this. Really gets you thinking, and praying! This is by Ashley Higgins
i had the privilege of traveling to dublin, ireland last week. my squad-mate andrea made the trek for the second annual world race awakening. there were nearly four-hundred people who came to ireland for the event. current racers, alumni and guests gathered together for four days of worship and teaching. the lord showed up in a mighty way during our time there.
toward the end of our week we had an afternoon free so andrea and i decided to explore the city a bit. we had both been to dublin since our squad launched there just over a year ago. we were wandering around town without much of an agenda. we prayed, rather flippantly, that the Lord would give us a divine appointment.
be careful what you ask for.
as we meandered the temple bar area i noticed a young woman who was wandering aimlessly. she looked lost, confused, tired, needy. i struck up a conversation with her and offered to buy her some food. we walked to a nearby cafe where all she wanted was a smoothie. i tried to get her to eat a muffin or something more substantial, but she insisted that a small drink was plenty. we sat and talked with her as she told us her story.
jackie lives on the streets of dublin. she goes from shelter to shelter every night looking for a place to sleep. she was violently raped ten years ago in an murky alley where she was trying to rest. as a result of this atrocity, jackie refuses to sleep outside. she hadn't slept in four days when we met her last week. she could hardly keep her eyes open she was so exhausted. it was only terror that willed her small, fragile self to stay awake. we tried walking her to a hostel but she could hardly stand up straight, let alone walk the many blocks it would have taken to get her there. as people walked by gawking, jackie began to cry. "why do they look at me like that," she asked as tears streamed down her face. "i would never hurt anyone and i am just as good as they are." "i'm a person, too." i had no words to offer. any christianeese answer i could have mustered up would have done me no good, anyways. there are no answers.
we finally stopped. we sat in the doorway of some hoity-toity business with suited money-makers coming in and out. they didn't have to say anything for their disapproval to speak volumes. we sat with her and prayed. it was a simple prayer. a prayer of protection, hope, and comfort. i gave her all of the cash i had, just ten euro.
and then we walked away. we walked away and made our way to quaint little irish coffee shop where we sipped on our caffeinated beverages of choice. we asked questions and said the 'it's too bad's." we fed ourselves justifications and rationale as we devoured our banana-caramel dessert. we made our way back to the conference and we worshipped our hearts out.
and then normal life just kind of carried on. and we rode a bus and hopped on a plane. and now i'm sitting back in my comfortable bed in my nice, american apartment. i'm in need of nothing, really. i'm surrounded by dozens of jesus-loving people. i have food in my pantry, clean clothes in my closet and money in my wallet. i feel well taken care of. i have a supportive family and network of friends all around the world. i feel safe and secure. i won't lose sleep tonight from fear of being abused.
but somewhere on a dark, irish street corner jackie is sitting.
alone. cold. hungry. tired. terrified. hopeless. depressed. rejected.
and it's just not okay with me. it's not okay with me at all. but i have no answers. i don't know how to fix it. there is no remedy. and i don't want nice christian answers about how i did everything i could and now i just have to trust that the lord will take care of her. there is truth in that, absolutely. but i don't find comfort in those justifications. it's not good enough for me, anymore. i'm not looking for solace or commiseration. i don't want well-intentioned condolences anymore.
because there are millions of jackies in our world. millions.
millions of orphans. millions of women being sold into sexual slavery.
millions of people living in inhumane conditions because of poverty.
and, i know. i have to believe that what i am doing is helping. that licking stamps and stuffing envelopes; reading blogs and projecting numbers is actually changing the world. but today, it's hard to believe that. it's hard and it doesn't seem like enough to sit behind my desk. because i want things to be different. i don't want to feed one hungry person, i want to end hunger. i don't want to bring comfort to just one woman who has be dejected and abused. i want to abolish modern-day slavery and start a jesus revolution beginning with the pimps and sleazy men who prey on the helpless women and children. i don't want to hold one orphan in africa. i don't want there to be orphans in my world at all.
call it idealism. call it naivety. call it impractical, unrealistic, stupid, ridiculous, foolish, crazy, or a waste of time. call if whatever you want.
i'm going to call it kingdom. and i'm going to fight like hell to make it happen.
as much as i hate it most of the time, i'm going to keep loving the one in front of me. i'll keep buying the jackie in my life a smoothie. i'll pray my simple prayers. and i will keep searching and crying and fighting my guts out and asking questions...until the earth looks just like heaven.
because jackie is somewhere in ireland, sleep deprived and void of hope.
and i refuse for that to ever be okay.