The other night, Tim Garland of SCRUBS Medical Mission described what it is like to be peed on by a child that isn’t yours, knowing a shower is nowhere in sight.
“Somehow, it doesn’t bother me.”
At the Light-Hope School in Chongwe, Zambia, a child, who is literally and figuratively hungry, is likely to crawl into your lap to be held. Sometimes they fall asleep and pee.
Why am I desperate to go on this upcoming medical mission trip to Zambia? Why do I want to sleep in a crowded grass hut, in a village with dirty water, hungry children and people who walk for miles for help with an infected tooth. Why do I want to go somewhere for two weeks and make a negligible dent in human suffering?
Because I believe the gospel, but I take it for granted.
What if you never heard of a God who so loved the world he sent his son to save it? What if you never heard of Isaiah who predicted a savior would come and announce:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1
Jesus showed up 700 years later and said: “I’m Him, I’m the one you’re waiting for.”
Doesn’t that sound like good news? Especially if you’re broken-hearted, mourning, captive or poor?
It’s unbelievable of course, and yet here are a bunch of his followers, rich Americans not eating overpriced hot dogs at Disneyland but kneeling in the dirt, hungry and unshowered too, cleaning a wound on a child they don’t know. Why would they do such a thing?
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
Initially, I believed going to Zambia was about bringing my skills to them, but that’s silly, I’m not that skilled. Rather, I think God just wants my faith, so he can show me miracles. He wants to show me what He can do among people – African and American – who will believe Him without disclaimer.
Why can’t I do that in Texas?
Because I don’t know how. I’m stupefied by my own excess, the petty tyranny of my first world problems and what passes for Christian behavior in our culture. I don’t have enough faith to say “give us this day, our daily bread” and mean it literally.
So I’m planning to take what little I’ve got and lay it before God, and do what he asks:
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8