Thursday, January 17, 2008

Human Suffering in the Heart of God

At Amsterdam ’83 (officially called the International Congress for Itinerant Evangelists), Ravi Zacharias said:

There is one place in the world where there is an aggregate, an accumulation, of human suffering—that is, in the heart of God. God then takes some of those heartaches and funnels them down into the hearts of His servants so that they might sense His burden and proclaim His message. This holy anxiety is an indispensable prerequisite to significant communication.

I think this holy anxiety is also a prerequisite to significant action, and when I look at my friends in the Carolina Clapham Circle and at other Christ-followers who are fighting human trafficking, I think we’ve experienced exactly what Zacharias was talking about. God has given us a glimpse of the suffering of slaves, and this compels us not only to proclaim a message of freedom but to work for it as well.

I also like what Zacharias said about God’s funneling some of humanity’s heartaches into our hearts. If we try to look at all the world’s suffering, our concern remains intellectual—it doesn’t become a burden. Sara Groves has a song on her cd “Tell Me What You Know” that says “At two you’re at abstraction.” I think she means that when we see one person’s suffering, it hits us a lot harder than when we see masses and statistics.

So God often gives us a picture of one person—maybe a girl in a Cambodian brothel (see the award-winning video at Love146) or a man who was enslaved in Brazil’s charcoal industry (see excerpts from the “Bound by Promises” video). The image stays with us, and we can’t stand the thought of that individual being enslaved.

I hope God will give you this kind of burden and that you will join the fight to eradicate slavery and restore its victims.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Good posting, Bob. I haven't gotten to see you in many weeks, but I hope your work here is going well. Maybe I'll see you in a few weeks.