My heart is heavy

rose

 

 

I am writing this post on Thursday because my weekend will, God willing, be very busy.

To be honest with you, I had scheduled in advance, for Friday, two articles. One on homemaking, and I thought of posting a recipe of those falafels I did for dinner tonight. But I decided to write something else instead because tonight, my heart is heavy. Sure, I enjoy all these things about homemaking and recipes and fashion and whatnot, but a few things happened this week that made me think, and made me sober:

I am working in a hospital, and my whole semester is about cancer. And everyday, I get to see patients who know, and I know it as well, that they only have a few months or weeks to live, and for some, they could die anytime. I will spare you the details but, though in medicine and pharmacy we have to take a kind of “distance” as to not be overwhelmed by emotion, in order to truly focus on our job… It is hard. We often have that illusion of immortality, we are so alive, and when you learn that soon, it will be the end, everything shatters in your head. You either deny it or face it, but my poor patients, do they have hope ? Do they know the Savior, and do they have hope ?

What made me ashamed about myself is that lately, it seems that I have made myself the center of my own little world and some aspects, was guilty of self-idolatry… And it was the words of an unbelieving friend at university that gave me a slap: “What I am seeing in the hospital, these days… It makes me think about life…What happened in Belgium… makes me sad…”.

I am truly guilty, sometimes, of wanting to lead a peaceful life free from pain and free from life’s reality -sure, I don’t want to live in a huge mansion in Miami and dress in Dolce and Gabbana, but even as I dream of a humble life, I find myself making the comfort of my home an idol, homemaking and my little routines idols, but till now I did not want to put a name on these things.

So tonight, as I am writing those words, I want to humble myself before our God and wake up. This life is not eternal, we are mortals, and at any time, we could die. As someone said, then, “Only one life twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last“.

Oh, to not seek to achieve spiritual disciplines for the sake of being called “spiritual women, godly women”, just for entitlement ! Oh, I am so ashamed that often I am knowledgeable about many things when it comes to the spiritual realm, or the Christian “culture” but when it comes to the work of Christ, how little do I know ! How few my thoughts are when it comes to what He has done !

Maybe it’s about time, to start getting serious about these things. I am not talking about doing more as a quantity but maybe, at least for me, it’s time to start evaluating some things in my life, and some of my priorities.

As I come back from school, I often cross a glamorous place in the Centre-Ville.

 

home

The said street.

There, you find all those French shops selling high-end clothes. All those lovely French cafés. Those restaurants that make us all proud of our culture Francaise. Yet it breaks my heart to find that in the midst of all this architectural beauty, there are TONS of beggars in that street. And it kills me to see that we have made food an idol, especially here in France, and do not care for our poors the way the early Christians did: they fed everyone, believers and unbelievers alike, with such love that even the last pagan emperor of the Roman Empire, though he hated them, could not but admit they were full of good deeds. As Leonard Ravenhill said, the early Christians did not have all those huge churches and technologies and ministries and all those things yet they turned the world upside down. We have so much, and at least in my case, I do so little.

Truly, as somebody else said, prosperity does more harm to the Church than adversity does. You see that in the Proverbs, I think:

“give me neither poverty nor riches,

but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you

and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’

Or I may become poor and steal,

and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:8-9) 

I clearly remember that when I went through hard things in my life, it is there that I cried for God. That when I lost everything and everyone, when my little crystal castle shattered, God was my only refuge. But how careful are we to be when we have a lot… The cares of this age (Mark 4:19) are like ropes around our necks. You just finished eating, and before you are done with the last bite, you are scrolling down endless pages on Instagram looking for more food, instead of giving thanks. Instead of being like John the Baptist, who was happy that he could decrease so Christ would increase, we constantly worry about what people are thinking about us, as if we were the center of the world ! What a culture of narcissim we live in !

And I wonder, is all what I am doing just wishful thinking and pretty thoughts put together just so I would publish another post on my blog ? We talk SO MUCH these days and do SO little !

So this is it. I would love to apologize for this post with randoms thoughts here and there, but my intention was not to make a Pinterest-worthy post here. I wanted to express my thoughts: maybe it’s time, to take life seriously, to realize that there is pain in the world, maybe it’s time to go down on our knees and to pray, for real, and not out of boring duty, maybe it’s time, to wake up, and follow the Savior, and pray that others would come to know Him as well.

Advertisements

Lord’s day: poverty

4485655080cf5b0de817d21b827a4582

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” (Proverbs 19:17 NIV)

The last pagan emperor of Rome, Julian, wrote the following lines. It is interesting to note that though he hated the early Christians, he could not help but admit that they were full of good deeds.

“These impious Galileans (Christians) not only feed their own, but ours also; welcoming them with their agape, they attract them, as children are attracted with cakes… Whilst the pagan priests neglect the poor, the hated Galileans devote themselves to works of charity, and by a display of false compassion have established and given effect to their pernicious errors. Such practice is common among them, and causes contempt for our gods (Epistle to Pagan High Priests).”

He who despises his neighbor sins, But happy is he who is gracious to the poor. (Proverbs 14:21)

Have a blessed Lord’s day !

A letter an eleven-year-old whose family doesn’t have enough food

How would you explain God’s love to an eleven-year-old whose family doesn’t have enough food?

Piper: “God wants us to trust him and want him more than we want food or parents or clothing or even life. He knows what we need most in order to become the kind of people he wants us to be. And even if you die, he will take care of you.”- Desiring God

full_letter-to-a-teenager-in-need

This article from Desiring God, a letter from John Piper to a 11 years-old child broke my heart. It really did. Not that the answer of Piper was heartbreaking in the sense that it was disappointing, it was on the contrary written, I see, with a lot of love and tact. What I mean is, what “Tommy” is going through breaks my heart.

I was reading the comments people posted in reaction to Piper’s answer, and a lot of them sounded like “But why do you preach and don’t feed the boy”, or “Feed him first”. First, I would like to say that as we can see in his reply, John Piper was ready to help in a practical, concrete manner. And who knows if he did not actually help the family without shouting it from the rooftops, out of humility ? This remark aside, I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on my mind after I read this article- here they are, not necessarily in order of importance:

  • First, I hope that I will never be so sophisticated, so unapproachable as to make people too shy or embarrassed to ask me to help them.
  • Second, I’m thinking about the fact that some people will never ask for help. I remember, when I was a bit younger, that I was so proud and so independant that even if I was to starve, to take the example of the article- I don’t think I would have had been able to tell anyone. People often look so impressive. So above us. So cool. Always having serious conversations about the latest Iphone or some sophisticated gadget. They take food for granted. What embarrassement it would be, for me, and for them as well, if I was going to reveal that I struggle to eat. 
  • I am thinking of what we should teach our children. I’ve seen so many kids making fun of others, at school, because their clothes were not cool enough, because  from year to year they would keep the same backpack, the same pencil-case, etc. I think it is really, really important to teach the kids to not make fun of their classmates because you NEVER know what he or she might be going through: in high school, I had friends who were orphans; whose parents were poor; I’ve witnessed people taking secretarial courses and breaking down in tears because they could not afford “regular” food, and they had to depend on foodbanks. I’ve seen girls being so excited, in highschool, to get, for their birthday, a cheap lipgloss and eyeshadow box because it was something they never dreamed of having; I could write tons of example, but my goodness- in spite of all the ambiant coolness of our age, poverty is still there. And likewise, it’s easy to hold prejudices against apparently rich people- but again, I’d have countless examples on store that would prove that their lives are not easy as they seem to be
  • Spontaneous acts of kindness and hospitality, no matter how small, can be the beginning of a frienship and/or of a trustworthy relationship. Since often, people will never dare to ask- a plate of cookie and a note can go a long way. I am not saying this so people will say “how nice and thoughtful she is”. The point of giving, I believe, is not to bring attention to us or to try to sound or act kind, generous and benevolent. Some people are alone and suffering and small acts of kindness can really make a difference in their lives.
  • Teaching our children and kids in general to be thankful for what they have and not taking what they own -whether it be toys, food, clothes, anything- is crucial. I want one day to teach my kids that we ought to give thanks for what we have in our plates, and not be complaining. Someone once posted a video on Facebook and you could see Syrian children being asked what they wanted for Christmas- among their answers, one children said “Fresh bread”. Fresh bread. I get my bread every time at the local bakery – how many times I don’t think about the privilege being able to have fresh bread whenever I want ?
  • What good does it do, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but does not prove it with actions? This kind of faith cannot save him, can it? Suppose a brother or sister does not have any clothes or daily food and one of you tells them, “Go in peace! Stay warm and eat heartily.” If you do not provide for their bodily needs, what good does it do?In the same way, faith by itself, if it does not prove itself with actions, is dead. (James 2:14-17)
  • I was also deeply touched by one of the things John Piper mentionned in his letter. This boy struggles with a lack of food, and in a way or another, we will all come to struggle with an apparent lack of something in our lives. Looking back at my past, I lacked that something; I now realize that God perfectly used that lack to prepare me for something greater than the said lack- during that time, He shaped me and molded me so I could be fit for the next season of my life, and it reminds me, today, as I was complaining in my heart about something- that everything is under His control and that I can trust Him for the next season of my life, and that all I will be going through, ” God works all things together for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28)

God is good,

Stéphanie