The other day, I talked about how precious life was and how we shouldn't ever waste it. Today I'd like to expand on that topic a little more. Your life is valuable. You're precious to God. But there are other precious lives that are vanishing every day, and that's what I'd like to discuss right now.
When I see images of the kids in third world countries who are dying from preventable issues such as hunger and malaria, my heart feels like it's literally splitting in my chest. The children who have died and are dying from starvation and diseases were never even given a chance to survive. They've been restrained within the barriers of poverty. Their deaths were painful and easily preventable. They died without being remembered. They died without the world knowing they ever even existed. It's like they've been invisible.
It really is. Look at the photograph to your right. Don't turn away because it makes you uncomfortable. I want you to feel uncomfortable. Allow your heart to start pounding in your chest. Let chills rise on your arms. Let your stomach churn and your hands tremble. This child is dying. If you're thinking to yourself, "Oh, that's so sad," but plan to do nothing more than think about this image for the next few days or weeks or even months, then this child is invisible to you.
If you see the World Vision ads that appear on the sides of your screen while you're surfing the internet and all you feel is a twinge of sadness before you move on to something happier and less uncomfortable, then these children have become invisible to you. You're ignoring the deaths of precious children who have a Father in heaven who cherishes them and feels terribly grieved when they die. These kids may not have anyone on earth who cares for them or remembers them, but Jesus Christ died for them too.
A dying child should make you leap from your seat with shock and horror. It should make you shout, "No! His death doesn't have to happen. None of these deaths have to happen. I'm going to stand up and do something." Children are dying. What are you doing about it?
I went to Kenya, Africa a couple of summers ago. I saw many things that changed my perspective on poverty and sacrifice while I was over there, but an instance sticks out in my mind especially today. A friend and I were taking some pictures of kids to send to those who sponsor them through Christian Relief Fund. We would go down the long list of names and ask the kids who would crowd around us, eagerly waiting to help, to find the child we needed to photograph and interview.
At one point, we asked the kids to bring us a little girl. I don't remember her name now. I wish I did. There were many names we read off that day. The kids grew silent for a long moment until a young girl finally spoke up. "She died," she told us in a somber voice. When we questioned her, the girl's response was, "She died from chicken pox two weeks ago."
She died from chicken pox.
In the world today, there are still little children dying from chicken pox.
I remember that moment quite often. Children are dying from preventable issues every single day without a chance to leave their mark on the world, without a chance to change someone's life, without a chance to learn or experience new things or to grow. The lives of these children are truly a mist, likes James 4 discusses, but their tragic lives could be made longer than they are now. We could be making a difference.
James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." You've probably read that verse before, but take a moment to read James 2:15, 16, located a few verses down. "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?" What good is it? When you see the images of starving children and feel bad or say a quick prayer for them, in all honesty, what good will that do? What good is it? What tangible difference are you making in their lives?
Here's a quote by A.W. Tozer that impacted my perspective on faith and prayer. "...I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work... Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience." Here, A.W. Tozer was talking about praying for revival, but the same concept works with praying for God to end poverty. You may be praying for the starving children, but what are you doing to obey God's law? What are you doing to help the orphans and widows in their distress?
I read somewhere that if everyone in the word who claimed to be a Christian tithed 10% of their earnings to the church, then we would eradicate world poverty and AIDS in less than a year.
What are you doing to help the needy?
Every minute, more than 110 kids die from starvation, equaling about 160,000 a day. Each minute, two kids die from malaria. Every two minutes, a child dies from AIDS. What are you doing to try to prevent these deaths and save the lives of these little children? If you're not fighting for the destitute and needy, then it may be time to reset some priorities.
In the ten minutes it took you to read today's blog article, more than 1,125 kids have died from preventable issues. 1,125 babies who are treasured by the Lord.
Life is precious.
It's time to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves.