Tuesday, July 15, 2008

In reading Kay Warren’s book on Dangerous Surrender, she explains the title by saying that when we venture to be involved with people in great need we are opening ourselves up to be gloriously ruined and seriously disturbed. She illustrates that where she describes her emotional state after seeing first hand the extreme poverty, disease and also the suffering of orphans who lost their parents to AIDS in Africa.---

“I wanted nothing more than to fall on the ground and scream and sob – wailing to God on this little girls behalf. All I could see was a future without the guiding love and support of the parents who had brought her into the world. Where was the daddy who would be her protector? Where was the father who would swing her into the air and listen for her squeals of delight? Where was the daddy who would stand proudly at her wedding, giving her in marriage? Where was the mommy who would cuddle her in the night and sing her back to sleep when she had a bad dream? Where was the mommy who would teach her how to be a woman? I barely contained my sobs until I got back to our van, where I cried and cried. My friend and colleague Elizabeth and I clung to each other in terrible grief. Being seriously disturbed was becoming a way of life.”

After leaving Africa and coming home to the US she explains a little more about being “gloriously ruined.”

“Everything looked different; everyone seemed strange. I looked at my possessions differently. Suddenly a full refrigerator was an insult. The crowded grocery store shelves were excessive. The displays of fashion at the mall were trivial. Television was disgusting and moronic. Politics made me sick. Church was superficial. I was a mess.
Elizabeth wrote me an email shortly after we got back from Malawi and South Africa. In it she told me, “Thanks a lot! I’m ruined --- gloriously ruined.” I nodded with sudden understanding. “That’s it – that describes what has happened to me.” I was ruined for life as I had known it before, but gloriously ruined! Life will always hold a “Before AIDS” and an “After AIDS” classification for me now. I’m simply not the person I used to be, although who I was before wasn’t a bad person. But I’ve been shaped by these new experiences, and I will never be the same. Moreover, I don’t want to be the same. I can’t have seen what I’ve seen, met the people I’ve met, experienced what I’ve experienced, only to turn away and return to life as usual. I now look at life through a different set of lenses.”

I think there are many applications to the words of Jesus where he says,
”Blessed are those that suffer for my names sake.” Surely the persecuted Christians are among those, martyrs, of course, defenders of the faith against opposition as well, but for many of us in the US, we will not suffer in those ways, but we will in the way that Kay Warren suffers. Choosing to sacrifice ourselves, our money and our time for the suffering in the world. Mourning over the suffering, and choosing to sacrifice for the good of those without, is a practical application for us.
Sara Groves song “I Saw What I Saw” is all about being gloriously ruined.
Photo by Peter Velter


Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Fred!

When we see the poverty, misery sickness, and suffering of fellow human beings, we feel a terrible pain in the heart and at the same time we also greatly appreciate how good God is to us with all the comforts and blessing HE has showered on us.

You will be surprised to know that there are few starvation deaths even in India. The Government and other charitable institutions are helpless!

Of course, most parts of Africa have always been worst affected for sickness, famine, poverty, starvation, AIDS, war etc.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have billions of dollars at their disposal for charity. I hope somebody will bring the plight of these poor people to their notice.

Have a good day!

Mel said...

I think Keith and I may have been privileged to hear this woman speak at Creation '98. I can't remember the name of the person we heard, but I remember her saying that phrase, "ruined for the ordinary." I also remember her stories, and how everyone around us, including us, were weeping loudly. Ever since then, I have been ruined for the ordinary, too, to a certain degree. As a tiny example, I have a hard time spending money on things like getting my hair and nails done, because I can't do so without remembering how many hungry people that money could feed. It doesn't keep me from gratefully enjoying the blessings God has given us, but it does cause me to carefully consider what I spend and how I spend it.

I love reading accounts like this. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes of all time: "Compassion without action is the worst kind of hypocrisy." --Pastor Eric Blauer

FCB said...

Hi Joseph, it is good to hear their are fewer starving in India, I have heard that world wide malnutrition is down about 40%. This is so encouraging, but still lots to be done. I hope Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are giving, I have heard reports that they both do a lot for charity, God bless them if they do. I think the comments Mel made about restricting luxury is so important. In the US we are a consumer driven economy and we are hounded every moment to buy this and that. Before we are even teens we have become avid consumers. I too have no problem enjoying the wealth we have; I'm sure too much, but when I read my own posts it is a continual reminder where my head and heart should be. With so many images in this country that focus on "self", I need to be reminded of those God loves with so little.
God bless you both,

HAINAngel2000 said...

OK I want to read the book...
It sounds like an amazing book to me!

Thank you Fred for telling about this book. It has been very impact full and has made me really think allot about my own life. When I read about others and see my own life and feel humbled and I then see my own faults. Its hard to explain... I guess I am not as humble as I should be and I see so many things I do wrong even as a mom that I feel overwhelmed.
Balancing all of it is hard, being able to serve others, raise a family and do it with quality can be so hard. I feel like a huge failure. I find myself angry at myself and find myself crying often. I want to serve others with all of my being, then I feel like sometimes I make my kids pay a price, then if I spend more with my kids the ministry suffers. I know that my kids should always be more important, I know this. I have been doing my best to release responsibilities to some of our volunteers with out burning them out. So I have more time for my family. How does one balance this.
Most who have been known to serve the world did not have 4 kids to raise. I love HAIN with all my heart. I also love my children with all my being. Please pray for me Fred I need it!

FCB said...

Hi Mary,
I remember a quote that said someting like -- The unholy say, 'I have done enough for God', whereas the holy say, 'I have not done enough.'
I share your frustration and I think all Christians do. We live in a world with so many needs, where does one begin or, maybe more difficult, where do we end, or come to the conclusion that our plate is full.
I'm not sure I have the answers but for myself, I prioritize in this way - First family, if we all win our children to Christ, we will change this nation in a few generations. Our chidren will perpetuate the work and God will be pleased. Next, personal calling; in your case HAIN would surely be where God has called for you to serve Him. Past that, as we make sacrifices, we help or support other works as we are able. Remember, God judges the actions by the mind, not the mind by the actions.
We may not be able to do nearly as much as we would like, but God sees the mind, and the little we may be able to do, is seen by God as the great things we want to do.
Don't read over that, let it sink in, I think it is at the heart of your question.

Take heart, God hears your heart cry, and promises to bless those that mourn. To be a faithful loving mother, in itself, is a ministry well done. To add another ministry like you have done surely must please God very much. And then to wish for more time and energy to serve him even more----Mary, you are a saint. The mourning you feel at this season in your life, I think, is a call to pray for those that suffer and pray for those that are able to go and serve. 'For evey time there is a season', take comfort that you are faithful at this season in your life. When the kids are raised, they will be active in ministry, and you will enter another season where you will have more time to act on other ministries. But if you lose even one of your children, what will be gained in your next season. There is but one of you and if you lose one child's service to Christ, you have gained little. Make sense?
You are right, most that are called to serve in a mission do not have four children; also, don't forget, rearing Godly children in a perverse age is a glorious ministry, maybe the highest.
Please pray for me as well as I too try and find a Godly balance.
Love Fred

HAINAngel2000 said...

Fred these words mean the world to me. When I read this I cried I know the Holy Spirit was speaking through you. You are right. I am praying I will balance all of this. I am working to give more responsibility to others so I am not so overloaded and can spend more time with my kids.
You are so dear to me Fred that is why I ask from you. I know you think before you speak and I know you always have sound advice.