It is late. I'm up with a coughing wheezing little girl again. As a parent, I wish I could just make her better, make it go away. Tonight, I was thinking about all the little ones around the world that suffer. I feel burdened by the unfairness of it all. As I rock her in her room with albuterol swirling around us in the dark, it feels overwhelming. That this little one, my little one, has medicine and a chance, while others don't. I have held babies and known they would die. And I knew that if they were in another country where there was better health care, they would have lived, or at least been given a fighting chance. Or maybe, in a situation with better health care, the circumstances that led up to their sickness in the first place would never have existed. I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to accept the gratitude that swells within me living here tonight, while at the same time desiring to shake my fist at the cruelty and injustice that exists everywhere. How do I do this?
I have to admit that living in Congo challenged my faith in a loving and good God more than anything else in my life. I have wrestled with questions of sovereignty and the will of God and I don't come up with any answers that satisfy and put to rest the doubt that has risen in the face of the depth of suffering I have seen. And I know there is so much that I haven't seen. It's not that I went to Congo not knowing pain or loss. I have, and I have known it in a deep and personal way. But I don't think I every clearly connected suffering so personally with injustice and poverty. I knew it in my head, but not felt it in my heart. It is harder to really understand this if you aren't removed from the relative riches of our lives here. There is suffering here, there is deep suffering. I know this. Yet, for me, I struggled with how less I suffered in comparison to the people I was surrounded by because of my wealth. Don't get me wrong, our family is not rich as compared to the poverty line in the U.S. But, in Congo, we were rich. And here we are rich compared to the developing world. We have access to health care, education, security, schooling, a functioning justice system, police and military. Democracy. Equal rights. (And I know too that there are many here in this country that are homeless, desperately poor, without the many rights I mentioned above. I do not want to discount any groups struggles, I am speaking in broad strokes tonight.) It was so hard to accept a loving God when faced with the truth of my relative ease of life because of my wealth and resources compared to those around me (living in Congo) who had nothing, and suffered, died, struggled to basically live in abject poverty. They don't work any less hard than we do, yet receive and live in so much less.
Yet God loved us both.
I know this--that my heart has been broken and crushed. And I know that God's heart has also been broken and crushed. And that perhaps that is all I am supposed to know right now, to know a little of the broken and crushed heart of God. Maybe, I seek answers that I will not find. Maybe, I am to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. maybe. maybe. I don't know.