Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Day Four Reflection: It's Not About Me by JUSTIN POTESTA

For me, today was the most intense day of the class thus far. Writing really isn’t my thing, so putting my emotions into words should be an interesting task but here it goes. Today I was mad. We watched the “Invisible Children” video about the child soldiers in Uganda. I watched as innocent children told their brutally horrific stories of war, violence, poverty, AIDS, and death. It was horrible. These kids, anywhere from the ages of 5 to 14, were being trained to kill other people. The thing that scared me the most was my reaction to the film. It made me so uncomfortable to watch teenagers relive their extremely tragic life. Time after time I found myself asking “Why in the world this would happen?” or “How could a loving God let things like this happen?” Well if that isn’t the million dollar question itself.

Guilt slowly swept over me as I drove home. The whole time I was watching the film I questioned God’s love further and further. But I still didn’t see it. I didn’t understand why it was necessary for these kids to experience things that most other people in the modern world won’t ever even taste in their life time. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. A feeling of selfishness flooded the corners of my being. Am I really that selfish? After watching such a tragic film about child soldiers I’m going to question God’s love? I just sat in my car like, “For real right now?” Maybe I just needed to understand a few things.

The world has a clear message for us these days: “Life is about you and your happiness, anything you do to help others is just going above and beyond.” I feel like Jesus flipped that completely. Jesus lived a life that was never about serving His needs or desires, but the needs and desires of other people. What does this have to do with my “Invisible Children” meltdown? Everything. I was so wrapped up in exploring my definition of God that I forgot about the true message of the video. The video’s main purpose isn’t about me. All those emotions of anger, pain, frustration that I’m feeling right now are God’s own thumbprint on my heart. God HATES injustice. Therefore, I, being created in His image, should not be comfortable with tragedies such as poverty, AIDS, corruption, and child soldiers. God deliberately placed those painful feelings in my life for a purpose. That tension, those intense pangs of sadness and hurting, are supposed to lead me to action. I’m not saying that the children of Uganda are going through these things so that I can help them; honestly I have no idea why these things happen. I’m not going to try to tell you that it’s all God’s plan because that’s not going to change the fact that they are still happening. Yes, God is in control, whether or not I see that doesn’t really matter, I just have to believe it. The tragedy happened, the question now isn’t “Why did this happen”, but rather “What am I going to do about it?” Less time needs to be spent questioning why God didn’t do something and more time needs to be spent figuring out how I am going to do something.

I think Bono said it well: "There are 2,103 verses of Scripture pertaining to the poor….It is not all about the things that the church bangs on about.” Instead of bickering over weather or not God is a just God, we should be acting to correct the injustice. Instead of questioning God’s love, we should be showing it. Because maybe that is God’s true plan, for YOU to bring about Justice, for YOU to show his true and perfect love. I almost missed it. I almost missed a huge opportunity for God to use me as a tool for His greater Kingdom. May the tension always be present. May we always feel doubts, and may we never let those tensions and those doubts go without action, for they are deliberately placed there by the Creator of all things.

JP

1 comment:

tfrank said...

JP;
Thanks for sharing this. That "God's thumbprint" thing is right on. He's there when we question and hurt. In our pain, and the pain of others. And maybe I need to quit looking for blame and I should look more to what God may be asking of me.

Tony