Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Heart Not Big Enough

Just a few weeks ago, I embraced the opportunity to attend the International Christian Conference on Prostitution and Human Trafficking in Green Lake, Wisconsin. For me Green Lake is a tiny glimpse of Eden – a place where generations of believers gather, a place where faith runs deep, a place where God is tangible.

As I drove through the front gate I found myself exhaling a huge breath and snuggling into the grace-filled arms of God.

Monday morning, after breakfast, 250 people from around the world come together to worship and pray. The room grows quiet.

A sassy red-head – a woman of frailty and strength – needs to speak to us. A delicate skirt of pale blue and white flows around her legs as she walks up the stairs and onto the stage. She is the mother of many, and the children on her heart this morning are in an orphanage in the Darfur region of Sudan. Her delicate hands are clasped in anguish.

Our children have watched wide-eyed and anxiously through our chain-linked security fence as thousands of southern soldiers have trekked past… the thing weighing most heavily upon [the orphanage director] are the contortions of fear etched across our children’s faces. The thunder of dropping bombs, the rhythmic stomp of troops marching by, and the mechanical roll of heavy artillery kicks up the violent winds of war, sweeping through their little minds and excavating all too recent memories of those they saw raped, tortured, and murdered in the last storm of human greed. *

In Darfur, the director watches and waits. The 550 children entrusted to his care wait with him. A decision lies ahead – to stay with the orphanage and risk capture, or to abandon the compound fleeing with the children into the bush where the loss of life will grow each day.

In the anguish of not knowing, the woman leads us in prayer. We pray protection for the children and wisdom for the director, the man entrusted with the decision to stay or flee.

Genesis 1
God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—

On Tuesday there is no word. My heart is not big enough to bear the pain. Beside me each day are women telling their stories of death – not a dying of the body, but a massacre of the soul. We share tragedy and hope. What brings us together is a passion for ending prostitution and human trafficking. What we find is a celebration of human dignity and life in communion with God.

And there was evening, and there was morning—

On Wednesday a young man takes the stage. “Many of you have been asking about Darfur and the children. Communication is difficult, but [the director] got through by phone.”

How beautiful to hear a rumble of laughter out of [the director] this morning! In the backdrop of our phone call, instead of bombs, I heard our children singing. “The children are praising God for the worst rains we have ever had! The rains have come so hard for so many hours that the killing machines are all trapped in the mud.”

Rain. This morning we praise God for simple rain. The children within the orphanage, a roof over their heads are dry and safe, and they are singing.

And there was evening, and there was morning—

Today – this morning – are the children singing? In the anguish of not knowing I pray.

My heart is not big enough to grieve the loss I find in the tangled insanity of evil. Compared to the battle waging in Darfur our work here in the midwest often feels unimportant, but in Green Lake, surrounded by a sea of people with hearts on fire, I rediscover truth.

No atrocity is too large, no story of redemption too small, for our God.

Each of us – each of you – is invited to be part of God’s plan to bring heaven to earth.

Matthew 10:16
“I am sending you out like sheep among the wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

We ask God for healing, and in the asking we find the power to heal ourselves and heal others.

We reach out to take the hand of the person next to us, and we touch the compassion, clarity and courage God offers.

God calls the light “day,” and the darkness “night.” And there is evening, and there is morning—

What will you do with this day?

* excerpts from

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