After over 60 hours of work in about two weeks of life back in England things slowed down and my head got some space to be hit by the magnitude of what has happened in the last 5months. Going to India as a lone traveller without a team or organisation behind me meant that I had quite a unique experience. Not one that I’d change at all but I had/have no team or friends going through the same experiences I have who understand what can’t really be explained but only experienced. I coped because I had to cope but it’s only in the last few days that for the first time I have really felt the sadness of much of what I saw and began to understand. I didn’t really even realise what had and what hadn’t effected me until now.
The lack of value for human life and the treatment of women are heart breaking. And the amount of poverty is ever so real and very hard to see and yet there is a beauty in the people, friends I met living in poverty that I didn’t see else where. This beautiful yet broken voiceless people trapped in poverty are the worst keep secret of our modern world. Sometimes it overwhelms to the point I feel completely hopeless, unable to see how these people could know their worth and see freedom from poverty. My only hope is that God is a God of justice and calls us to have a heart after His own. A heart for the voiceless, the destitute, the poor and the needy. If we are the gospel the gospel will be spread. If it is life, living in us, it will bring life.
This Sunday I didn’t know how to hang on to that hope as I really thought about the brokeness of the situations created by poverty. All the little girls aborted for being female by parents who are so trapped in poverty and know that their poverty will only be increased by a daughter. Tabitha is a little girl I met when she was only a few days old, she was and is so perfect. But she is the third daughter of a very poor family and it is a miracle that she was ever born. Her mother had the medication ready to take to end her pregnancy yet thankfully she never took it but because of her decision to go ahead she has been laughed at by her community, faced anger from her husband’s family. She also will know that life is only to get harder and harder as her three girls grow up. Scrapping together one dowry so that the family of a poor girl has even some hope of a good husband for her is a struggle but three daughters. It’s hard to explain the hopelessness that is faced in these situations.
Sunday nights sermon was on King David the writer of the Psalms and the warrior. It challenged us to see David the Warrior instead of David the ‘nice guy’. It was a sermon that invited us to appreciate the warrior in David and in God. God says David is after his own heart. It was also a challenge to be like David instead of living like its peacetime where its ok to focus on improving our own lives, aspiring to comfort and niceness instead of joining the battle for justice and freedom. The war is won but there is still enemy occupation but is this the focus of our lives or the church?
God reminded me that He is my Father and King which is a position of honor and I am called to ride out to battle at the side of my King and Father. He will not leave me behind because I am a girl, God calls his warriors to enter the battle with him. His warriors are those have the spirit of God within them. And like in The Chronicles of Narnia where each child gets a unique gift for the battle so do we. Mine is a soft heart, like Gold that is refined it becomes softer the more refined it is.
Yet there is also a challenge specific to women in what God reminded me because if the daughter of the King is more concerned with riding out to battle beside a husband she is waiting to meet she will miss her place of honor. It also shows how she has misunderstood the place she is called to be in and that her glory is not in being a wife but in being a daughter, a daughter of the most high King. A king who is glorified by her presence at his side.
Another thing that spoke to me is that David and his men are described as fierce like a bear who has had its cubs stolen that even warriors with hearts like lions are scared to fight. The fierceness of a bear who has had its cubs stolen is overwhelming and its an instinct that has no space for fear, fear doesn’t even come into it. But I’ve been really scared. I know that God is calling me to join the battle, to not be ok with the poverty and brokeness that I have seen. I long to see justice for those who believe and are treated by the world like they are worthless, to see the Kingdom of God on earth. Yet I’m terrified but when I understand that to have a heart like Gods is to have the fierceness of David. It is a fierceness that we should have because our cubs have been stolen. The cubs are those that are vulnerable, speak up for those who have no voices, for the destitute, to see justice for the poor and the needy. We have stolen cubs to fight for so lets not be afraid to be fierce.