John has officially been working in the U.S. now for 6 months. Many have asked about our transition, and how it has been for us. My answer always tends to wonder, because it's hard to put our feelings into words that others can understand. We were only away for three years, so that doesn't quite make us third culture people. (which is a culture of people that don't really fit into their home culture anymore, yet also never really fit into their new culture.) We are definitely Americans, but that being said. I would like to share my latest journal entry with you. I'm not trying to speak directly to anybody at this point except myself and where I feel the Lord leading me.
Read at your own risk:
In the third year of living in Angola. I realized that all of us living in the wealthy part of Benguela must truly believe that we are better than those living on the other poorer side. How else could we walk through their poverty with our purses full and zipped tight? When I decide to spend and easy $150 on groceries for my family and then give $4 to a man crippled from childhood Polio, not even $4, more like $2. I really must think that I deserve to eat better than him and his family.
Giving a measly $30 a week to the Blind Association so each person can take home 4 peices of bread, while eat at least 2 a day. I guess I value myself more.
Then I realized that I was among a few wealthy people who chose to spend time with the financially less fortunate. And I know why. . . because it's hard.
I'm inevitably faced with the worldly question, "What then?" So am I supposed to give all I have away, then we are all just poor in the end, What then?
I don't hear that question from God, or the Bible. I think it's a worldly question. Instead of asking the question, or dealing with the thought, "Am I better?" We choose to seperate ourselves.
Over hear it is easy to separate ourselves. Over there (I can only speak about Angola) even in the middle of such poverty; those who have find a way to lessen the interactions with poverty. To shut the doors and turn on the T.V.; to dine in walled in restaurants, to vacation in places where we can forget their illnesses and hunger and illiteracy. (I'm the guilty one here)
I hate these question because when I give, it will never be enough unless it hurts. And since I chose to marry and have kids, my giving might not only hurt me, but my family as well. (I'm using the word hurt in a very broad way, what I mean is that maybe there isn't enough money to always buy new clothes, or do all the sports that we want or have a huge house; nobody is truly hurting here!)
I think these questions only bother me because I was hoping to believe that God wants us all to financially prosper and live healthy, long lives. I think that is one of the biggest lies in the world wide church today. Is it bad to think that maybe God doesn't care if we get sick as long as we draw near to Him? Maybe He doesn't care if we own a home or a car or new clothes. Maybe those in poverty are actually more blessed because they have to depend on God.
Maybe our home owning, new car driving, new clothes wearing selves are the ones who are furthest from being able to depend on God.
My opinions are provoked by these scriptures:
Luke 6:20-21, "The Jesus turned to the disciples and said, "God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh."
Luke 12: 15-21
This is the story Jesus told about the man that saved and saved his whole life, and right when we was to retire and enjoy it all he died and Jesus called him a fool. Yikes
Jesus said,"How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God."
Luke 18:27 (Jesus, thank you for this hope!) "What is impossible for people, is possible for God"
Anyway, these are the thing I think about. Many of us don't think of ourselves as rich, but if you were able to choose what you had for breakfast today, you are rich. I pray that God will continue to keep me uneasy about living too comfortably. He is my King and I want to live that way.
Thanks for reading,