“The man who isolates himself seeks his own desire.” Proverbs 18:1a
Few things equal the imagination of children! Being raised in a dysfunctional family, at an early age I learned the escape from reality that books afforded me. My aunt had many wonderful books, an actual series, by Arthur Maxwell, and I would sit in the corner behind a chair and read story after story. Later, my grandmother gave me a book by Grace Livingston Hill, which presented me not only with a physical book, but a way of life that grew into a hobby and collection that few rival. But my greatest feats were the fantasies I would make up as I lay in bed at night: I can still see the woods around me, the small cabin I (in my fantasy) lived in, the garden I grew, and the hermit life I lived! It was my dream–to be a hermit, away from people.
Although that didn’t happen, it has never left me, and over the years I can see our pattern of residences have almost all been on acreage. A couple of years ago it happened–as it does often to all of us who read God’s word on a regular basis–as I’ve mentioned before on other passages, that, as I started on Proverbs 18, this first verse jumped off the page and God spoke straight to me, that, in my fantasy of isolation, I was not heeding His desires, but my own. Ouch! Double ouch! We are to be “neighbors,” to “love our neighbors” (wherever we find them), and spread His word. It’s hard to do that if you don’t go into the world!
So, I rationalized. Don’t tell me you don’t do that. I do this, I do that, I minister here, minister there; go on short-term mission trips—-WHOA. Suddenly that one hit me, and for a very good reason. The last one I went on, nearly two weeks in duration, was long enough to love on the people, help with a project, eat their food, and tell my story. But, oh! was I ready to come home at the end of two weeks. I just spoke to a sweetheart of a sister-in-Christ who had gone for three weeks, which, she said, was too long. We wanted to get back to our comfort zone.
Where does all this go? If you read any of my blogs, you know I don’t take short cuts. I have to lay the groundwork before giving the interior design, and this design nearly took my peace away! You see, a short term mission trip is great because it is SHORT. We can get back to comfort zones, but also to responsibilities–I understand that. But we also miss a lot. I know–I got a letter yesterday, which some of you may have gotten also.
The letter spoke of a dire need that is never addressed in Christmas boxes, medical terminology, children’s school requirements (i.e., books, pencils, paper, etc). The need is much more crushing, but overlooked–in fact, the mention of it in a blog might be a “no-no,” I’m not sure! But a certain humanitarian organization, Gleaning For the World, addressed it in letter form, and it touched me like few things have: it communicated the crucial need of young girls when they begin their feminine cycles, and have nothing with which to keep themselves clean. They have to resort to used newspapers, old rags, corn husks–use your imagination. They miss school, and are basically housebound for the week. As a woman, how can I NOT have considered this in the trips I’ve made to Guatemala, India, or sitting in my comfort zone, isolated? I should have thought of it in connection with the sweet young girls that were ministered to in the poverty stricken countries. Shame washed over me, and I realized a new kind of isolation had been in my heart: unmet needs that are not talked about.
GFTW has made a kit available which will help these girls. For a mere $15 USD, it will take care of six months worth of necessities these girls need. I had to come out of my isolated “studio” and put it on paper this morning before I could shake the responsibility I feel to reach out and give hope where there is none. You can go to http://www.gftw.org and read the letter, I’m sure. But along with me, let us be pro-active in reaching the world for Christ: He Himself ministered to physical needs and then taught the spiritual lessons. I pray we do that as well.
Dear Lord, please forgive me for staying in my area of comfort when there is a world who is suffering at the hands of Satan, held bound by tradition, not knowing there is a freedom that is found when they give their heart to You. Help me reach them, not only with spiritual food, but with daily needs as well. Please, God, give me love as You love. Amen