Wednesday, March 12, 2014

100 Days

First, I'd like to wish PRF a happy birthday!  This month marks 15 years of groundbreaking research towards finding a cure for Progeria!  

Today marks 100 days until I embark on the Hike4Hope journey down the Appalachian Trail in honor of Nathan, Bennett and the 250 other children worldwide who have Progeria!!  Over the next 100 days there is much planning to be done in addition to training.  I am very excited for what lies ahead, but being a novice to hiking and backpacking, I'd be lying if I said that there's a part of me that wasn't extremely nervous as well. I've found though, that I have a sense of peace even amid the anxiety, because I know that God, who placed this calling on my heart, has gone before me, walks beside me and guards behind me.  

I've been reading a book for my small group called The Hole in our Gospel, by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision US, and would like to share some of my thoughts from what I've read.  A prayer that I've adapted for this Lenten season from the book is this:

I am often blind to the injustice and sins of omission that I commit.  Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, to see the world as you see it.  Let my heart be broken by the things that break Your heart.  Give me the ability to see through our culture and to lead your people with your vision, instead of with the world's.

"Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God"

What a sobering thought, to have our hearts broken by things that break God's own heart.  As I think about what sorts of things break the heart of God, I'm drawn to the thought of children who will never grow up.  At first my thoughts linger on those children living in extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Middle East who die every day of preventable diseases.  I think about the AIDS orphans that Richard writes about- children who are forced to raise their younger siblings because their parents have died.  But then, I am drawn to think about another group entirely... What about those children like Nathan and Bennett who have Progeria? Would such a disease that claims the lives of children so young not also break the heart of God, the way that it breaks my own?  What if there was a way to bring about a change?  A way to bring hope to the hopeless, to bind up the brokenhearted, to bring justice to the oppressed... to the "least of these" in our world?  On a global scale, it is unlikely that an individual person could ever take on such issues and make a measurable impact.  But what if instead of looking at the problems on a global scale, we could look at just one or two people at a time, see their potential in the midst of their plight and allow ourselves to be used by God to impact their lives?  Imagine the change that could happen on a global scale if we each opened ourselves to the people whom God has called us to serve.  Each of us has been endowed with certain gifts and abilities for the purpose of bringing about God's Kingdom here on earth.  Imagine what would happen if we used those gifts and abilities the way that God wants us to use them: to love "the least of these." We could change the world in very real and practical ways.

The question for me and for all of us is will we?

John Ortberg writes, "they'll never be able to catch our love until we are close enough to catch their hurt." To allow God to use us, often removes us from our comfortable states. It means asking for our hearts to be broken by the things that break God's heart and a willingness to step outside of our comfort zones at the Spirit's call.  It means embracing the hardships of the ones that we walk with and serve. We have the means to be the difference that this world needs all we lack is the will and the way.

In the 100 days ahead may we all pray for our hearts to be broken by the things that break the heart of God, and may we allow ourselves to be used by Him to expand His Kingdom here on earth.