Sunday, November 1, 2009

Like a Finger in a Light Socket

Please read this entire post before you click on a link.

Recently, while Josh and I were in Windhoek, I was paging through a back issue of National Geographic about Africa when I saw this.

At first I just thought it was sad; it certainly isn't the first time that I've seen pictures of bodies ravaged by AIDS. But then I looked at the shadow in the background.

I was shocked. Shocked. As in I had a physical reaction, a combination of heartbreak, simpathy, fear, disgust, anger...I felt sick to my stomach, and as if I couldn't breathe correctly.

Now, if you'd like to look, go ahead. But be prepared.

If your heart doesn't break from compassion and sadness at this, I don't know what will move you.

Not all people who have HIV/AIDS look like they do- many of them are in good physical condition and look healthy. I think I have been working so hard at training myself to remember that, that I forgot the horror of this disease.

This young girl's name was Nomfumaneko Yako, and she was 15 years old when she died of AIDS.

Don't judge her, or anyone with AIDS. You don't know how they got it. Was she born with it? Was she raped? Was she forced into prostitution by extreme poverty? I have no idea, and it doesn't really matter, because the bottom line is that she is still gone.

This is why we are in Africa. Not AIDS or even poverty, but compassion. Nominal Christianity is an epidemic here; our desperate desire is to show people Christ's love in reality. As I write this, I feel almost frantic...death is so common here, and who has really shown them the love of Christ? Sure, they may have heard the gospel, but have they ever experienced even the tiniest portion of God's love, sacrifice, security through another human being?

It is something so big, I can't even truly understand it. I am often intimidated by the tragic need. I beg God to use us to open their eyes to Him.

I feel so angry at the injustice here, useless, helpless to change it.

God, we cry out to you. Hear our prayers. Here their prayers. Use us for your glory, because we have nothing of our own to give. We have absolutely nothing to offer anyone.

But, as I sit here and write this, God tells me that when we are empty is when there is the most room for the Holy Spirit to fill us up and overflow.


Kelly @ Love Well said...

This is so beautiful, Nicole. I resonate with what you're saying. It's one of the reasons I've just fallen in love with the Christian organizations who demonstrate true COMPASSION for the people who need it most.

And I could go on. :-) This is a topic close to my heart.

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