Thursday, December 16, 2010

$3 Worth of God

This is something I wrote on August 3, 2009.  I wrote this a few weeks after visiting Kenya, Africa and right after volunteering at a camp called Angel Tree Camp, a place where children whose parents are in prison can relax and have fun.  I came across this piece of writing again the other day and thought I would share it on this blog.


"I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.  Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine.  I don't want enough of God to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant.  I want ecstasy, not transformation.  I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.  I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.  I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please."  -Wilbur Rees

Isn't that what we all want?  Just enough of God to make us feel good, but not enough to break our hearts?

This summer has been exactly the opposite for me.

I've seen enough of God this summer for my heart to be broken again and again.  I have been shattered into a thousand pieces, restored, and shattered again, and yet I feel like this is something that God has been planning for me to experience over these past three months.

Seeing the street boy sin the cities of Kenya, high on glue, unable to walk straight.

The little children in the slums, shrieking with excitement over a little piece of candy.

Students, who are even sponsored, but don't have shoes that fit right... and yet they would absolutely call themselves blessed.  You know why?  Because their neighbors don't have any shoes at all.

Children sticking their scrawny arms through the gates of the school, watching the students eat lunch, wishing in vain for the education they will not have.  For a future that is not to be.

People who have NOTHING, who are STARVING, and yet want to give what they have to those who have less... or more, in my case.

A little girl at Angel Tree Camp, sobbing into my shoulder because she is so ashamed of the sexual abuse she has suffered at the hands of her own father.

Children praying over lit candles for their loved ones who have hurt them, setting the candles on a cross, and letting them float into the middle of the pond, shining through the darkness.

"We get THREE good meals a day here?  I've never had so many meals in one day in my whole life!"

A balloon pops and a girl screams out in a sudden burst of panic, thinking someone is shooting in the cabin... just like they do in her backyard.

Kids who live in MY town who have never had a pillow... pajamas... a tooth brush... underwear... a Bible... a father... a hug.

How are you supposed to take this and remain whole?  When little children are hurting, being hurt, enduring pain with silence that screams louder than sound, how can my heart not break into pieces?

But how can I ask for a mere $3 worth of God?  How can I not open my eyes to see the TRUTH?  I don't want to be blinded to the problems until things change.  And they still have a long ways to go.

I'm throwing away that tiny paper sack.  I'd like to buy a million gallon tank that's wide open for everything God has in store for me.

Open my eyes, Lord.
Let me see the truth.
Let me see the pain.
And let me see the goodness too.
Restore me.  Transform me.  Break me.  Delight me.
I want to see it all.


  1. Hi, I just wanted to say that this post moved me so much! I went to Romania to look after the children in orphanages and it was very sad & moving!

    Can I ask how you went to Kenya? Was it with a church group or something? or did you go by yourself?

    Thank you for reminding me that there are good people still in this world :)


  2. Hey Emily,

    Wow. That is an amazing post--very inspiring. I just found your blog on the Rebelution today and I've read through something like twenty articles today. I'm looking forward to reading more of what you have to say--God's going to use you in big ways, I'm sure! =)

    Anyways, reading this really inspired me. I'm a part of the TriHarder Network, which is all about making a difference: Try Harder. Anyways, I was wondering if it would be all right if we could re-post this article on our blog (TriHarder Blog).

    You can get in touch with me through my email address or through the TriHarder website contact form.


  3. That's AMAMZING!

  4. Yes! Yes! Yes! You got it Em! Thanks so much for posting this! You've given me some Christmas inspiration!
    Love you!

  5. This is incredible. Wow. Thank you SO much for posting, Emily-seriously. Wow.
    But after reading this, how can I/we let it end at "Wow" or "amazing post"? This is one of the biggest injustices in our world, and we're too spoiled to acknowledge it. God's just been putting this on my heart lately, and your post kind of spurred this comment. It's crazy. Absolutely...crazy. Now the question is, what am I/are we going to do to change the world? Not to write meaningless words of intentions to, but to literally get off our butts (pardon me) and do it?
    Like you said: I want to see it all.
    How can we let this go on, as we go on with our lives being so blessed? As my youth pastor says: we are blessed to be a blessing.
    Thank you for posting, girl.
    Holly :)

  6. One more thing: apparently, experts estimate that we'd need to cough up 30 billion dollars to end world hunger. END world hunger-END IT! Americans and Europeans combined spend around 31 billion dollars on ice cream.
    That sweet, creamy treat that we don't think really matters but is nice to have? Well, what if it did, but only when we DIDN'T have it?
    Americans alone spend around 14 billion or more on Valentines day alone.
    And children like that never have these luxuries.