A thick knot formed in my stomach and I felt like I was going to throw up. I began shaking, was unable to focus, and knew without looking that the annoying rash that formed on my neck when I was nervous was in full flare. I was working as the Dean of Women at one of my favorite places in the world, Camp Good News. I was essentially the counselor to the women counselors and loved every second of my job. I was helping with the midweek water games and I had been told by one of the staff directors that I was needed at an emergency meeting. Immediately my mind began to twist. From leadership training, I knew an emergency meeting would be called if there was a world event they needed to inform of us. Had there been a nuclear attack? An outbreak of war?
Thankfully, the meeting was just about some water testing and how we were going to fix it. That’s it. It took nearly an hour for my nerves to calm down. When I spoke to one of the staff directors after she smiled and said, “Kris, the Lord has really gifted you with a global focus.” I had thought she would have called me a worry-wart or told me to calm down, but instead, she addressed my first response to think about a global event as a gift. I’m sure my face twisted in response to my confusion. No one had ever told me that before. Yes, I think about most things from a global perspective. However, I’d always had my thought process shushed and told I worry or think too much. But now, for the first time in my life, it was addressed as a gift.
Global Focus: When Policies Become People
I have had the privilege of traveling the world. I’ve been to 19 countries and 5 continents. I’ve traveled for school, pleasure, and work focusing on anti-human trafficking. I have seen a lot. I’ve seen children who have had their fingers chopped off from working in factories, I’ve watched a young boy be sold for sex, I’ve watched a mother sob as she held her child as he died from a disease perfectly curable in the United States, I’ve seen children locked up in a quasi-prison as a form of foster care, and I have seen the wealthy get Westernized medical services while their neighbors die of malnutrition. I’ve watched American foreign policy become people. I’ve seen how Americans can take the wealth we’ve been entrusted with and do great good or great evil. I’ve seen how our military can pursue justice or open the floodgates to unthinkable horrors. Perhaps I care about these topics more than most because God has given me a global perspective.
To the dismay of many, I’ve become obsessed with justice. If you follow me on FB, I share dozens of articles on foreign events and America’s response, specifically the response of American Christians. My heart is heavy. When I read the news I see evil winning, Christians fighting back, God restoring, and God opening doors for us to become part of His redemptive work. I often then become quickly discouraged as I realize I don’t know many Christians who share this zeal for justice. In fact, this past week, I was told by a Christian that I’m too ambitious and am wasting my potential because the world will remain broken and I shouldn’t expect anything more…meaning, I should setlle for injustice to persist because well, people are broken and this world is decaying. But I won’t settle because I believe God calls us as Christians to join in his redemptive work.
My heart has been troubled as news reports have spread of yet another horrific gas attack in Syria as the global community sits back and continues to do nothing. I’ve watched dozens of videos of people dying, because, in a weird sense, I felt like I owed them that honor. How unfair is it that I can close my screen to their suffering? A comfort Americans have enjoyed for too long.
Today I found myself crying out to God, “God I know you hate this. Where are you angelic armies? Where are you amongst this suffering?” And then I remembered Jesus’ words as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel:
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,[a]
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,[b]
for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.~ Jesus in Matthew 5:3-10
Verse 6 stood out to me: “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” Wow. I had to read it several times, and it still gives me chills. This is a promise, a guarantee: I will be satisfied. Not okay, but satisfied.
And in this, I find hope: although evil rages right now, evil will end. Although weeping is rampant right now, sorrow will end. In fact, it will be forgotten. Erased. Eradicated. Nada. No more.
You and I, as Christians, have the privilege of joining God in his redemptive work here on Earth, while clinging to our confident hope that God will ultimately restore his creation, bring justice, and Believers in Him will enjoy eternity with God in a place that is so just and pure and perfect that our thirst for justice will be satisfied. Woah. Praise Jesus.
But, until then, as Paul reminds us:
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.~ Gal. 6:9