Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Compassion makes the heart expand

A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from my new sponsored child (through Compassion International), a beautiful young woman named Allen who lives in southern Uganda. She wrote that she wished to visit America so she could see "my place," that she was thankful I had chosen to sponsor her, and wrote of her family and favorite things (her favorite food is fish). Her favorite Bible verse is Hosea 6:1, which says, "Come and let us return to the Lord, for He has torn so that He may heal us; He has stricken so that He may bind us up," (Amplified). When I got to the very bottom of the page, I stopped and stared, and began to cry. It was then that I knew the Lord had specifically directed me to this young woman. For what purpose, I do not yet know, but it was clear the Lord had done something special. Why was this part of the page so important? Because it is where she had written her dream for the future.

Her dream is to be a nurse. Just like me.

Praise You, Father.

[[Revelation Song]]
Worthy is the
Lamb Who was slain,
Holy, holy is He.
Sing a new song
To Him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God almighty,
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore you!

Clothed in rainbows
Of living color;
Flashes of lightning
Rolls of thunder...
Blessing and honor, strength and
Glory and power be
To you the only one King!

Filled with wonder,
Awestruck wonder
At the mention of your name!
Jesus, Your name is power,
Breath and living water!
Such a marvelous mystery!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hello, Mr. President

We have a new president now. George W. Bush, after 8 years of working what is arguably the toughest job in the nation, and perhaps even the world, has passed the torch to Mr. Barack Obama. As I despise all the commentary surrounding such events, the only coverage I watched (on the Internet rather than the television as I do not have cable) was the beautiful "Air and Small Gifts" composition by a diverse and talented quartet, the swearing-in, and the speech. The speech was very well-crafted, and I hope he can live up to at least some of its promises.

I also hope, that as the "honeymoon" phase ends and the weeks wear into months and we struggle to turn the Titanic of this nation around and head in a better direction, that all those who've placed such hope in him will not be disillusioned. I hope they will remember that he is just a man; like any other, he is subject to shortcomings and human failings, and he will make mistakes-it just comes with the territory of humanity. I do hope that Mr. Obama is able to enact change, that our economy stops its downward slide and starts back in an upward direction, that we are able to bring peace and stability to the Middle East and bring our brave service men & women home, that reforms are made to such ailing giants as healthcare, education, and social service programs. I hope these changes can be made without conceding too much power to the government and without socializing or nationalizing too many programs-especially with healthcare, which is generally even more inefficient and bureaucratic when a government is placed in charge-just take a look at Britain. I hope that we do not have to concede our rights in the name of "progress" and "change."

I hope that people will remember that true change takes time. When civil rights began to be fought for in the early 1950's, most marches and protests were localized, unique events that didn't get much coverage. With the advent of television, the message was able to spread more quickly. But it was not until 1968 that the final anti-discrimination legislation was passed (the Fair Housing Act), and that only after two years sitting in Congress and the death of a certain prominent minister who'd always advocated peaceful change-the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. This was also more than one hundred years after the official demise of slavery. I hope everyone will remember that and not grow impatient with Obama when change does not happen RIGHTNOW as they wish it would. When that happened in the 60's, with the growth of Black Power, the militant Black Panthers and even the numerous urban riots, it damaged the appearance of the civil rights movement-so I hope that those most desirous of change will remember that peaceful activism, though perhaps a bit slower than we'd like, is always most effective in the long run.

I don't know if any of those early civil rights activists, whom I admire for their faith and courage, would ever have thought the day would come that a black man (even half-black) could be president. I know I didn't expect to see it until I was much older, because I felt the United States was still too strongly biased to accept such a man as Commander-in-Chief. For a woman, it's even harder, especially if she has children (yet no-one has said a word about any man's abilities in government if he has children...). But that day has come. A line has been crossed, the bar has been raised, and I hope it inspires more minorities to strive for bigger and better things-because they are fully capable of achieving such things.

Congratulations, Mr. Obama. You have made history today. I hope you are able to keep most of the promises you've made and do not find yourself terribly stymied or limited by those in positions of power who seek only to improve themselves. I hope your tenure as President of the United States inspires others to dream big, to reach above the government "handouts," and make something of themselves-and especially, to ease the suffering of humanity the world over instead of focusing on themselves and what they can accomplish for their own gains.

"What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."

This quote, from Mr. Obama's inauguration speech, speaks volumes to me about what we, as Christians, should be aiming to do. Bringing the Gospel to all the unreached will not be an easy task-and we were never promised it would be. But if we will willingly give our all to this undoubtedly difficult task, what does that say about our character?

Mr. Obama, I hope the Lord meets you right where you are, and that He grants you wisdom in leading this flawed but great nation of ours.