Friday, November 20, 2015

"What Is Safe?" by Frank Black


(F. Black 11/22/15)


        The above was the title to one of the best talks I have ever heard.  Dr. David Thompson, a life-long medical missionary in Africa, gave this inspiring message at the Global Missions Conference about a decade ago.  His point was that we are safe nowhere in our world today.  [Remember that his talk predated all our current world crises.].  He reminded us that our earthly life is temporary and our eternal home is with God [our ultimate source of safety].  Dr. Thompson’s talk came at a time when he and his wife were preparing to return to Africa.  He also knew quite personally what he was talking about.  Both his parents, missionaries in Viet Nam, were killed during the Tet offensive. His father-in-law, a missionary in Cambodia, was taken away by soldiers and never seen again. 


        So what about today?  Are we really safe anywhere?  The answer is a resounding “NO”!  Of course we exert due caution, but none of us is safe or immune to tragedy or terrorists.  The recent events of mass killings with ISIS bringing down a plane and their horrific Paris attacks show quite starkly that no one is safe.  So, do we cover our heads, retreat, and hide in fear?  Another resounding NO!  We must remember that the forces of evil are prevalent and ever present, but that our God is greater! 


        But I do think that the USA needs a “reality check”.  Something to shake us up, so that we again can see what is really important.  Here we are in a nation of surplus and wealth – a nation where much of the world would like to live.  I’ve known many well educated African people, and virtually all of them have as their number one dream to come and live in America.  But it seems that many USA nationals have grown complacent with our wealth.  It’s taken for granted.  So we see too many people self absorbed, immature, and overly concerned about being “PC”, name calling, feeling entitled, feeling like the ‘victim’, others being ‘intolerant’ of or ‘offending’ them - just add in the current fad or trend.  Frankly, much of this behavior is sinful – not what Jesus would have us be or do.


        So, what do I mean by a “REALITY CHECK”?  I mean something worthy of being really distressed about – not like much of the piddly stuff of today. Something like not enough food.  Most Americans today cannot conceive of such a thing – real hunger and when it’s virtually impossible to get food.  I’ve used the phrase before, but we Americans have the “Blessing of Location”  as opposed to being the Victim of Location.”  

I’ll let the words of Janice Bingham speak for themselves.  She’s our dear friend and co-worker, a nurse practitioner, who has been in Zambia with Harding University students this semester:


        “The Southern province of Zambia has experienced a significant drought.  Only about 1 out of 10 crops produced anything during the last harvest.   [One characteristic of Third World is that they have no stock or storage set aside for such disasters].  We hear of so many people suffering. So one Friday we loaded up several large sacks of corn meal and bags of beans and headed down some rough, dusty roads.  Most of the people we encountered were the elderly – weak and malnourished.  In the African culture it is the responsibility of the children to care for their aging parents, but many of the younger generation have died of AIDS, thus leaving many “elder orphans”, older people with no one to care for them.  One older woman, unable to walk due to extreme weakness, had come to meet us by traveling in an ox cart.  We came to a hut occupied by a man with polio – unable to walk because of atrophied and contracted legs. There was no family to help care for him.  He thanked us over and over for remembering him in his time of need. There was hardly a dry eye in the group as we drove away.  //  The next day we again came face to face with people in desperate need.  We went to a church where the people were told to meet us.  When we pulled in, a crowd of women came running out singing, clapping, and overwhelmed us with their welcome.  [In the Third World it’s the women who always come first – whether to church, to see a doctor, or to get food].  We had brought twenty 25kg bags of corn meal – one problem:  60 people were there.  Everyone got a portion.  As we sat on the bricks in the tiny church building, I had to wonder yet again, why did God chose to bless us?  ‘I don’t know.’ Now we know at least something of the plight of the poor, and I pray that these students will be motivated to dedicate their lives in service to the poor and down-trodden of this world. It is definitely what Jesus would do.”


In another letter from Janice she told me of an African man who cried [most unusual] because the Clinic had none of the heart medicine he so desperately needed.  Can you even imagine such a thing in America – not being able to get the medicine you needed.  She told of another teenager with severe rheumatic heart disease and heart failure, who desperately needed heart surgery in order to survive much longer.  Not possible there!!

I know I’m “preaching to the choir”, but let us keep our priorities in order and count our blessings and remember, “What Is Safe?”

No comments:

Post a Comment