The Russian novelist, Alexander Solshenitzi, once told a journalist that “It is impossible for a man who is warm to understand one who is cold.” Mr. Solshenitzi should know, he spent years exiled to the barren wastes of Siberia. However, as he sat by his fire years later, he found that he could no longer really feel the cold as he once did.
I know that if you are reading this right now, you most likely have a warm home to sleep in, and you have electricity, and you can go take a nice, hot bath if you wish. I have spent my day working for people who have nothing: absolutely nothing but the clothing that they have on their backs and a few odds and ends stuffed in a suitcase.
The refugees keep on piling in. When I spoke with the director today at lunch, he said he had no idea how he would feed the people lunch tomorrow. I volunteered our Church and told him we would make it happen. I can’t have 300 hungry bellies on my conscience all day when it is in my power to do something about it.
It is numbing work. It is stressful. The head of the Red Cross here in Plaquemine is already wearing out. He is a man with a lot on his mind. By the way, he is a volunteer who took vacation to come here. He is a normal guy with a normal job doing an extraordinary work.
The thing that strikes you the most are the children. They play as if nothing in the world is wrong. Some of them seem to be having the time of their life. After all, they just found a hundred new playmates. But the eyes of their parents tell a different story. They are tired: the kind of tired that is just the other side of despair. It’s when you have lost hope and the tired settles straight in the bones. It’s the kind of tired that a person has when he is too heartbroken to worry about how he is going to feed his kids, and where he is going to go, and if he could even get there if he thought of someplace. It’s the kind of despair that makes a grown man wish he could go home to momma instead of being someone’s daddy.
Tonight as I was organizing the setup time with the Red Cross volunteer, I found out that there was a four year old boy orphaned in a neighboring city. His parents were gone, and he was alone. I volunteered my home. My wife and I waited for two hours at the shelter waiting the ride with the sheriff to get Colt. We could not imagine sending a four year old boy into the midst of 300 strangers to sleep on a floor with no one to tuck him in or change his clothes or feed him. After two hours they informed us that we could not take him. We came home and I cried.
I have heard a lot of people say in a very upbeat way that God will turn this to good, and I believe it. They say that God will bring glory to His great Name from this, and I believe it. They say that someone out there needs to hear the comfort of the gospel. I tell you the truth, tonight that someone is me.
Tonight I need to grab that good news with both hands and ride it into the sunset. I need to know that beauty will come from ashes. I need to know that my efforts are not in vain, and that tomorrow’s gumbo will make a difference, and that little Colt is under the care of my Father. I need to know that the light of the gospel will pierce the veil of darkest despair. Tonight, I am glad to know that I have a great High Priest who knows what it is suffer. Tonight, I am glad that there is one exception to Mr. Solshenitzi’s rule. Jesus suffered, and He never forgets.
Lest you think I shall utterly despair, let me say that tomorrow, God willing, I will wake up at 6am to begin cooking gumbo and rice for 500 people. Five hundred people who have lost everything. Five hundred people who are dependant on the kindness of strangers for shelter and their next meal. This reminds me of the saying of Jesus that goes, “Whatever you did to the least of these my brothers, you did also to Me.” If that is true, and I believe that it is, tomorrow I will serve my Lord 500 meals. That’s just the kind of good news I needed to go to bed with, and that’s the kind of good news that makes me look forward to the dawn.
We Must Do the Impossible
4 years ago