I’ve been challenged a lot recently by others’ radical living. A few weeks ago, I saw the video below, and it has stuck with me since. I’ve been asking: how can I live like this, love like this, where I am? The thing I love about this story is Sara and her roommate’s reckless abandonment of people’s normal concerns for their safety, stability and status, in order to just love on those in need.
Sara's Story from Trinity Grace Church on Vimeo.
The story’s not special because of where she is, it’s special because she made herself available to the need she saw and is applying the Gospel in her life regardless of what the world would view as her self-interest.
Another thing that’s been influencing this thought-process is reading Richard Stearns’ The Hole in our Gospel. The book is about Stearns’ experience and journey, leaving his position as CEO of Lenox (the fine china company) and accepting the position of President for World Vision.
Since returning from Haiti, I’ve started attending the church that the rest of the mission trip team was from. They have each been such a blessing to me, and all except two of our Haiti teammates are participating in a Sunday school class on this book, The Hole in our Gospel. There are several other people in class, too, and while I don’t know all of them well, one of the things I appreciate about them is none of them seem satisfied with staying where they are. Everyone in the class expresses an interest to grow- to learn more of what God expects of us.
So far, this book has been in large part about how we respond to poverty and those in need. In the first chapter, Stearns describes his reaction after returning from one of his first trips to Africa:
“The media overflowed with celebrity dramas, stock market updates, and Bill Clinton’s impending impeachment hearings. But where were the headlines and magazine covers about Africa? Twelve million orphans, and no one noticed? But what sickened me most was this question: where was the Church? …How could the great tragedy of these orphans get drowned out by choruses praise music in hundreds of thousands of churches across our country?”
Isn’t it true that it’s much easier to stay in our own little bubble as Christians ministering to each other and turning a blind eye to those who are hurting around us? This saddens me, and I’m guilty of it, too.
The truth is it’s easy to say we want to help, but it’s messy when you befriend someone trapped in a sin addiction; it’s messy when you embrace someone who is in the middle of so much brokenness, he can’t see which way is out; and it’s messy to move to the middle of a neighborhood where screaming and/or violence is a part of everyday life.
So why—when I’m in a place in my life where things are going pretty well, where I’m happy and feel like I’m at rest from striving and wrestling—would something like this video seem exciting to me? Why would I be motivated by a 22-year-old girl saying she moved from a high-paying job to a neighborhood where “drugs, crime, gangs and prostitution are rampant and violence is a normal part of survival?” Why am I drawn to stories that involve all this messiness?
As I thought about this on Christmas Eve, I realized it makes perfect sense why all of this would appeal to me… It is because my heart knows I need someone to do the same for me. These true stories are a picture of what I think we all really long for. Someone to meet us in our mess, show us Light in the midst of our brokenness and give us Hope for something better. I want my life to be a picture of this, too.
I’m drawn to Sara’s story because I think deep down it reminds me of Someone who had every right to stay in a perfect place free of brokenness and pain, was willing to enter the mess…and not only forgive my mess but run to meet me in the middle of it and enter our world of brokenness, knowing He would be stabbed in the back, but still deciding we were worth it. That Someone is Jesus, who chose to be “God with us.”