Cream Puffs and Chemical Weapons
I’m taking a one day break from the book of 1 Corinthians to write about something that has been on my mind the past two days. If you follow me on Facebook you know I’m doing a silly thing that I’ve called “The once a day cream puff challenge” where I’m eating one cream puff from Gable House bakery each day for the month of April. I know it’s not really a “challenge” at all, but I am doing it to be funny…and I really do like the cream puffs from the bakery. But in light of the recent horrific chemical weapons attack in Syria, I considered stopping writing about it because it seems so tone deaf to write about eating a cream puff when people are dying. How can any of us laugh about cream puffs, or anything else for that matter, when adults and children are being poisoned from the air? Does anyone else feel that way? Yet the truth is that a chemical attack in Syria happened just a few years ago and it was horrible and then all of us reading this “moved on”. And the truth is that whatever the death toll in Syria was last week, that many children and more died due to rogue militants, natural disasters, fire or disease each and every day around the world, sometimes in single locations. The Boko Haram in Nigeria have killed more and they and groups like them, continue to terrorize large numbers of people. Can we ever really feel free to eat a cream puff, or celebrate a birthday, go to the gym or buy a new car, when we could redirect all of those resources, if we wanted, to helping those in Syria, Africa, or Harlem? How do we “compartmentalize” our lives in such a way as to “move on” and yet still care…still do something…or should we “move on”?
I’ll simply offer what I do in my life and suggest it as an option for you. I’m not saying that what I do is “right” for you; nor that my way of coping is the “best way”. I’ll state right up front that I have tremendous respect and admiration for those workers who are on the front lines in Syria and other places around the world but we all know that not all of us can be a relief worker. So what else can we do? Here are my suggestions. First, pray. Pray for the victims and families of whatever horrible action has been taken against them. Pray for those who are the perpetrators of the actions. Pray for our government leaders and leaders closer to the tragedies to be guided by God in how to respond. Pray that the gospel of Jesus Christ can somehow be presented to those people so they can be transformed. Second, give. Find organizations that you believe in, that are doing work in places where you cannot go and support them financially. Yes, you have enough money to do that in some measure. Third, get involved. Find a way that you personally can engage with organizations or even individual people who are suffering. Volunteer some time. Again, you probably can’t go to Syria but perhaps you could be involved in resettling refugees. I’ve asked our church mission team to investigate how Buffalo Valley could get involved in resettling a refugee family…or two…or three in our area. Get involved in the life of someone in your town who is struggling with addiction or loss or anything that you can help with. You don’t have to have all the answers; just a listening ear and a commitment to prayer…and then see the answers God reveals.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s Ok today to eat a cream puff, and celebrate a birthday, and watch TV and buy stuff. I don’t have to be paralyzed by the terror around the world but I do have to care and act. I think you do as well…and I salute those of you on the front lines of helping other people…it’s not easy…it’s emotionally, financially and often physically draining…but keep going. And if you let me know, I’ll buy you a cream puff as a small, very small token of my appreciation for all you do. 🙂