I am thankful that God is bigger than all of this – this world, the chaos, the disease, the corrupt governments, the angry people, the power-hungry people, the destruction. Today families across America (and Americans in other places – myself included) will sit down to huge meals. They’ll laugh, they’ll stuff themselves, they’ll watch football. Tomorrow they’ll either shop sales or sit around eating leftovers.
In other parts of the world, it’s just another Thursday. I’m at work today. No one knows that I’m going straight from work to celebrate one of my culture’s biggest holidays.
In still other parts of the world, today marks only grief, wailing and gnashing of teeth, and questioning a God who seems to bestow Butterball turkeys on some and machine gun fire on others.
I’m overwhelmed by today’s news more than I’ve ever been. Every headline strikes a personal chord with me. I’ve been to Mumbai. I have friends who live there. The first email I read this morning was from a friend in Houston who is visiting Mumbai this week for some cousins’ weddings. He was staying in a hotel just down the street from the ones attacked. I have not heard yet from my friends who live there.
The next headline I read on BBC was about the suicide bomb attack outside the American embassy in Kabul. I got on Skype with a friend who’s currently working in Kabul and asked about it. She was thankful her driver was late this morning because if he had been on time, they would have driven right into it.
Zimbabwe is our neighbor. There are many Zimbabweans in Beira. As if enough people haven’t died there from violence, a huge cholera outbreak is wiping out hundreds more. A Zimbabwean friend also reported after returning from Harare last week that hospitals and clinics are closing throughout the country. No food, no medicine, no fuel, and prospects for next year are worse as rains are late and farmers are only just beginning to plant crops now.
My heart hurts right now. I want to yell at God, “Stop them from doing that!” But I know it hurts His heart more than mine. I don’t understand sin and wickedness and evil. I don’t understand the technicalities of how that prevents God’s will from being done. I don’t get how Satan and God, angels and demons battle over us. But I cling to the hope that God will overcome. And I believe too that He wants to hear more of us yelling, “Stop!”
I know that in a few days I’ll go back to being consumed by stress at work, how my circumstances affect me. That hurts my heart too that I’ll quickly move on. I’ll stop crying out to God for justice and worrypray (no, that’s not a typo) about affording a trip at Christmas, getting surveys done, what I’m doing in May, etc., etc. (Does God love to hear those prayers?)
Please, before you sit down to eat your turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce, please take a few minutes to pray through the headlines. If you’ve already finished eating, thank God for the food He provided. I mean, really thank Him. And thank Him for who He is. He is not good because of what He provides. He provides because He is good. And He’s big, so much bigger than turkeys and machine guns and suicide bombers and cholera. Thank Him for that above all.