When Ann Voskamp shared her conversation with her husband about her indecision about how to respond to the enormous humanitarian crisis in Haiti, I leaned in and listened closely. With her question—“How do you know how to best invest your life? How do you know what’s wisest, and where’s wisest, and who’s neediest, and is any of this even the point?”—she took the words I’ve been wrestling with for weeks now right out of my mouth. There they were, on the proverbial table, for deliberation. I was so relieved to know someone else was struggling too.
Like Ann, I feel the need to do something to help the people of Haiti. The question that keeps me from making a donation or applying to go on a work team is simple, yet one that seems too big to risk answering impulsively:
“Is that really what You want me to do?”
The reality is that while I wait until I’m sure His answer is “YES!” I’m secretly hoping He won’t really make me do something that would cost me that much—that much time, that much of my comfort, that much money, that much risk.
But Ann pointed out that, while she and I (and maybe you) are dithering, people are dying. Her husband told her, “Sometimes waiting until you really know what you are doing—means you don’t really know God and what He can do.”
You may not be wrestling with your response to the people of Haiti, but perhaps you’re wrestling with what “something, anything” you could do for the people in your neighborhood if you could just get past yourself. You know people are dying, yet what you have to offer seems so insignificant.
Or is it?
People are dying. Here and in Haiti. And, as Ann so eloquently but pointedly put it, “Being with Christ as He goes to the lost and the least is always doing the right thing.”
For me, this is not just about Haiti. This is about how I do life in my world, my neighborhood. I no longer want to be content with inaction because I’m more interested in protecting myself, my time, my resources, my energy. I want to live like I believe that “something” and “anything” is better than nothing.
Because people are dying.
Jenn Nahrstadt is a frequent contributor to On Q