Blog Archive

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Troubled

Today, please scroll slowly, and
read the words before you see the photo.



"If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap
whence everyone must take an equal portion,
most people would be contented to take their own and depart."
~ Socrates


Troubled

Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
... He turns rivers into a wilderness,
And the watersprings into dry ground;
A fruitful land into barrenness,
For the wickedness of those who dwell in it...
~ Psalms 107:31,33-34 (NKJV)

Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping ... He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.
~ John 11:33 (NKJV)


I don't like to rant. Rant seems too close to complaining. And complaining seems too close to asserting that my life isn't good enough—too close to accusing God that He's either ignorant, uncaring, or impotent.

I've written before about the difference between complaining and groaning. Jesus groaned. The Holy Spirit groans.

Today, I groan, because of an image I saw which has left me unsettled.

I'd had a long, busy morning on Saturday and forgot to eat breakfast. Around noon, hunger became distracting. I grabbed a bowl of yogurt and some cereal. Most of my hunger pangs had faded when I clicked on the blog of Christa Allan. I immediately wished I hadn't eaten when I saw for the first time the photo of a vulture stalking a Sudan famine victim.




If you'd like the full story on this 1994 Pulitzer prize winning-photo by Kevin Carter, click here.

I write this on Monday, after shopping for groceries. Before arriving at aisle after aisle of food, I walked past hundreds of racks and shelves displaying various shoes, clothing and household goods I might need. I meandered through one section the size of my house, gazing upon fresh produce from all over the world. While I waited for a clerk to fetch an item, I rested comfortably at a blood pressure machine which assessed my health as excellent. I slid a piece of plastic through a machine without worry of how to pay for everything desirable to celebrate a feast with my family in expression of thanks to God for the abundance we know.

The entire time, I could shake neither the image of a little girl whose fate is unknown to the world, nor the certainty that God is good and it is right to celebrate it.

The entire time, I fought tears as I struggled to reconcile the two.

Tomorrow: Finding Peace

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to
BuildingHisBody.com "Comments" or e-mail to BuildingHisBody@gmail.com. Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.

15 comments:

  1. Stunningly sad. I could never justify my actions to God or myself for not helping that poor child. What an ache on humanity that picture really is.

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  2. The irony is, his walking away after taking that picture cost them both their lives.

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  3. Heartbreak.

    And please, dear Anne, don't think me insensitive to the plight of that precious child--her pain cannot be minimized, and we shouldn't be quick to move away from it.

    But I see a spiritual message in this picture too. For as "fat" as we are here, in some ways we are just as emaciated as this sweet child. We hunger and we don't even know for what, so we fill our bellies to satiety and remain spiritually just as wasted. And the vulture looks on.

    *Sigh* Still heartbroken over the little girl. I hope to meet her some day, happy and whole, in a better place...where God will have wiped every tear from her eyes.

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  4. Thanks for the reminder to have an attitude of gratitude this season! And to reach out and help someone else.

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  5. with a lump in my throat....I am so humbled by this image.....and like you, I am left unsettled.

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  6. I will thank you for making me feel unsettled today, and helping me to focus - and pray away that lump in my throat.

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  7. keep your faith that God wants what is best for His children.
    we do not completly understand good or God...
    but, i believe that God understands our heartbreak.

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  8. Natasa and Denise, I understand. On Saturday I could articulate nothing. I'll say more tomorrow. There was only so much to put in one post.

    T. Anne, I don't condemn Kevin Carter. He understood the futility of the relief effort. He did chase off the vulture. He faced the Sudan plight to share it with the world. He simply did not comprehend the Source of hope for both himself and the little girl.

    Gwen, your words bring to mind Revelation 3:17: "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked ..."

    Janet, I'm sure my gratitude this year will be the most it's ever been.

    Michelle and Candace Jean, the place of being unsettled prompts me to wrestle with God until He settles me. I hope you'll stop back tomorrow.

    nAncY, I know that God intensely feels suffering even more than we do. It is high honor and privilege to share His grief through His Spirit in us. And I don't mind grappling with faith, for in doing so it's strengthened.

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  9. That picture is heartbreaking. Thanks for the reminder of what it means to live in this safe and protected country, and our responsibility to those who don't have that safety.

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  10. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and you've proven that in this incredibly powerful post. It is so difficult to reconcile the two - that we live in abundance while others in this world (like the child) suffer so much.

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  11. Rosslyn, I'm blessed to have you call our country "safe and protected." Few people see it until faced with something like this.

    Sheryl, I'm often reminded of the words of Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." By God's grace, you and I use words powerfully, to overcome evil, suffering, and despair.

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  12. Words fail me, I am crying out to God for those starving ones.

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  13. Denise, He waits anxiously to restore His creation. Come, Lord Jesus!

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