Saturday, June 01, 2013

The Weight of the World on my Finger

I need to talk about something.  I have to tell you I am struggling.

It all started about 7 months ago.  I came across a website that pretty much changed my life. If you have been on my blog before you have heard me share about it.  It challenged me to live for others instead of myself (something God had already been doing in my heart) and gave a radically practical way to do so.

I could donate my engagement ring and use it to drill a well for a village who doesn't have clean water.

I was ready.  I jumped in with both feet only to realize that, on this particular situation, I couldn't jump alone.  This jump required my partner, my husband, to be in the exact same place.

And we are rarely in the exact same place at the same time.

We are both busy and although we usually have dinner as a family we are so busy catching up on our work days and the Bugs latest activities that we do not have a chance to have the deep spiritual conversations.  Plus, God speaks to us in completely different ways and sometimes even the follow up actions from those God conversations look vastly different.  So, when I realized that I needed to speak with the Hubs about donating my ring I was immediately nervous.

Instead of waiting, praying and seeking God about how to approach him, I sat down and just blurted out what God was doing in me about radically giving.  The issue is that in the midst of my verbal vomit the heart behind my "why" got lost.  Oh, I have such regret over how I approached him.  It should have come as no surprise to me that the Hubs not only didn't get what I was talking about (seriously, I did a really bad job of explaining it) but I did such a terrible job that I actually made him feel like my ring was of no significance to me.

That couldn't be farther from the truth.

I absolutely love my engagement ring.  It tells the whole world that I am loved.  It is a beautiful ring and knowing that my sweet husband saved and worked hard to buy it and then that he went and picked out the stone and setting all by himself makes me feel like a queen.

It wasn't because I don't care about my ring that I wanted to give it, it is because I love it dearly that I wanted to give it.

The "why" of giving my ring goes back to Matthew 25:31-46 (that when the least are thirsty, it's really Jesus), Matt 19:16-22 (the rich young ruler, hung up on his stuff) and Matt 13:44 (the man that sold everything to buy the field with the treasure hidden in it).   It is a sacrifice that I can make and one that I feel I am called to make to my sweet Jesus who sacrificed everything for me.  Because Jesus is the one that is thirsty and I want to give Him water with my best.  It is because there are entire people groups in the world that are dying and going to Hell without knowledge of Jesus and when a well is built in their village it is an immediate, tangible way of showing them that they are loved.

I have heard from family and friends that what I want to do is crazy.  They get disturbed at the thought of me giving up such a precious item.  Heck, I even think that is valid.  It is disturbing to give up such a precious gift but do you know what is more disturbing?  The mother holding her child as he cries because he has contaminated water in his stomach or worse, the mother that just lost her child because of the lack of clean drinking water.  In light of those things, how can I not give it?

When I look at my finger, with the beautiful sparkling diamond on it, I no longer see the gift from my husband but instead I see faces of thirsty children, mothers without hope and fathers that cannot provide for their families.  I see half a village worth of people around the stone because that is what my ring could provide, about half a village worth of water and the eternally life saving knowledge that Jesus loves them.

So maybe I was being dramatic when I said that I had the weight of the world on my finger, maybe instead it is more like the weight of 125 lives.  As I look at the poverty and pain in this world I think about something that Francis Chan said once.  He said that people so often say that when they get to heaven they have questions for God about why He allowed such suffering and ugliness on this Earth.  Francis goes on to say that he thinks that in those moments that God will probably ask back why we let the poverty and pain happen.  That God left us on the Earth for a purpose and, at least for many of us in the US, we had the means and the ability to address it.  Why did we allow the suffering and not step in?  Why did we allow people to go hungry and thirsty and not step in?  Why did we allow the girls and boys to be trafficked and sold into slavery and not step in?

I am tired of not stepping in. 

I don't want to look back at my life and my possessions and wish I had made another choice.  My ring has signified many things over the years, first how much I was loved and the thoughtfulness of my husband, then when I couldn't give it, seeing the ring reminded me to live each day to the fullest in order to be able to reach out with God's love to the most people, but now, when I see it I mourn the lives it could have touched.

All I can do in this moment is respect my husband's current wishes and still act faithfully on the things that I have control over.  I look forward with great anticipation to the day we can give this together and I look back and see how God used these days and this struggle to bind us closer in the process.  I encourage you to listen and do the will of our Father.  He has the best gifts for us, even if it looks like giving away our finest Earthly possessions sometime.  His faithfulness is unfailing.

Thank you for listening.  Can I pray for you?  You can comment any requests to me and if you write "private" at the beginning I won't post to the website.

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