It’s midnight and a slightly broken heart and a brain on overdrive won’t let me sleep. I’m not gonna tell you what has me all twisted up inside because it is almost embarrassingly trivial. But that’s what I do. Sometimes I let myself get worked up over things that have zero eternal significance and very little earthly significance.
Since I figured my tossing and turning was affecting Corey’s sleep, I decided to head to to the couch, open my laptop and find something brain numbing to keep me entertained. (Hey if I can’t sleep I may as well be entertained, right?)
But here’s the thing. I started thinking about how last April I was in Haiti. And how last April I was absolutely heart-broken over things that have much earthly and eternal significance. And now because of that, I’m still slightly heartbroken with a brain on overdrive, but I’ve got a layer of you-are-so-shallow guilt thrown on top of it.
Good golly, I’m destined not to sleep tonight.
My life of All-American abundance allows me to focus on things that really don’t matter much in the big picture. I wish it wasn’t the case, and I wish I could say that after praying God took away all the crappy feelings inside me and I now have a mind focused solely on him. But I can’t.
Maybe I’ll get there, but I’m not there yet. In the meantime, I am sharing this story that I wrote a year ago today. Tonight God used Billy to
make me feel overwhelmingly guilty about my current state of mind remind me that I’m focused on the wrong thing. So much for finding something brain numbing to pass the hours that I shouldn’t be awake… Maybe I’m not alone and somebody out there needs a reminder too.
I sit enjoying Billy’s company on a wooden bench shaded from the hot Caribbean sun. He is eloquent. He is intelligent. His smile genuine. His joyful spirit contagious. He speaks excellent English with a beautiful accent. Dressed handsomely in navy blue pants and button-down shirt, he may as well be an old friend from back home.
In just one day, my Haitian brother has gripped my heart.
He did not choose poverty.
He did not choose hunger.
He did not choose life in Tent City.
He asks about my life. What can I say? I live in a 5 bedroom home, of which only 3 bedrooms are slept in on a regular basis. I have cupboards full of food and regularly toss uneaten leftovers down my garbage disposal. Clean drinking water flows from multiple faucets and ice pops out of my freezer with the push of a button.
My voice falters. I can’t verbalize the discrepancy between his life and mine. So I speak of things that don’t accentuate the contradiction that is my abundance and his scarcity.
Then he asks the question I can’t sidestep. The one that now drifts through my mind a dozen times a day.
“Have you for even one second in your life been hungry?”
It takes all I have to look into his eyes, but I owe him an honest answer.
“No, Billy. I have never known what it is to be hungry. Every day of my entire 37 years, I have had more than enough.”
And now as I am back home, my more than enough breaks my heart into pieces. Every bit of abundance causes an ache inside. But I trust that God breaks hearts so he can mold them into something new. So he can impart his perfect love into my imperfect being.
I know that as I sit here with my coffee and my laptop, my God – the one who is able to save little American girls and little Haitian boys – is working on the inside making me a new creation to do the work which he has prepared in advance for me to do.
And my friends, a new creation ever growing in the desire to serve and obey my God is exactly what I want to be.