Sunday, August 16, 2014

As I walked down the streets of Central Shanghai I was almost overcome by people everywhere and non-stop traffic. A kaleidoscope of colour and the pungent smells filled the atmosphere. Tall magnificent buildings hung overhead, stores filled with the latest clothing fashions and anything you could possibly want enticing you from shop windows. The bright city lights and attractions would draw you in, yet also seemed to blind you from reality.

I was only here for a month but quickly became entrapped in my own thoughts and needs, and like the local people I soon became oblivious to the beggars around me.

It saddened me to see people rushing everywhere, blind to the sights before them. Deaf to the cries of the hungry; blind to the mother on the street with nothing but her child to hold; a man with only a brick for a pillow as he slept on the bare ground and a lady with no arms just begging for support. Everywhere I looked homeless and destitute men; women, mothers, baby's and children were crying out for hope.

These are just a few of the many circumstances that caused me to realise; I cannot witness such things and walk away unscathed.

Do these people exist or are they just dust to be walked over? The truth is plain but true: They do exist, they are seen and they are people, yet ignored and forgotten.

It wasn't until I returned to my own home town that I realised I had been no different to them. When I was told to ignore those who begged for money because I couldn't help everyone and it encouraged more begging, I listened to the advice I was given. I knew it was partly true, I couldn't help everyone but I could help at least one person. Even with just a kind word or some act of encouragement, I was fitting into the culture rather then standing out.

You never know the difference you can make on someone, it just takes someone to be different.

How easy it is to become too comfortable with where we are and to find ourselves fitting into the world. We are called to be the light and to stand out from the crowd.

What sort of generation have we become that our own people are cast out on the streets yet others have far more then they will ever need, including me.

Whatever happened to the values of humanity? Have we lost our way because we fail to see each and every person as individuals?

As Antoine de Saint said “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

During my stay in Shanghai I sat next to a young boy and his tutor outside our apartment listening to the mellifluous sound that came from his violin. He was fully blind and only aware of the beautiful music he made through sound and touch. I remember this boy and think about how hard it must be to learn an instrument with no eyes to guide your hands. But I soon realised that he didn't do it alone he had support from his family, his tutor and friends. He had the determination and the will to accomplish something but also other people working together to help this one individual.

Imagine if each country and each person worked together to help those on the streets and in the world, to reach out and just help that one person you do not even realise what you can change.

Hebrews 13:16 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

I really think there is something beautiful in all people if we have the eyes and heart to see it.

When I watched and listened to each person I became drawn into their lives and culture and I realized we need to take the time to listen to a wise old woman, stop as you pass that person on the street, laugh with a young child, and listen to the sweet music of the boy who's blind; because it not only impacts them but fills us with compassion and understanding so we can reach out to those around us who need hope. Being the light in this world, takes courage and faith to step out from the views and opinions of those around you.

Those we help change, change us.

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I saw through these moments through family and people that we all have so much in common even though we are from very different parts of the world. Language and traditions were different in some ways, but we each had this one thing that was the same and that was love.

A love for family, for people, and country.

Let us not lose this love.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

His smile holds so much life and joy in it that it just lights up your world. Caleb is this precious boys name and he has a disability that's called angelman syndrome. So he can't function as well as most kids his age. I babysit him and his younger brother and sister in the afternoons. It is so beautiful to see his eyes light up when he laughs, how he holds your hand and comes to you for a hug and the joy that fills his face when he sees his family. Through watching him you see how special life is! He fills my heart with love and I know that even though things will be harder for him when he's older and even now, that it's worth it, so worth it! He get's the chance to live life and enjoy these precious moments. His strength and determination that he has is so strong and I know this boy has more determination then I probably ever will!

Caleb has made me realise that each of us have our own disability in some sense. Something that can hold us back from where we want to be or the person we could become.

It can, but it doesn't mean that it will!

You can overcome whatever holds you back. For me one of the many things I struggle with at the moment is believing in myself! Knowing that God has called me to something but feeling unable to fulfill it. When you read his word it shows us that God is our strength and where we are weak, he always gives us the strength we need, to keep trusting in Him that He will work it out in His timing.

"Trust in me with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind" Prov 3:5-6 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.

Whatever hardship you are facing, whatever disability may be holding you back or making things harder, know that you are not in it alone. David didn't overcome that giant by himself, he cried out to God and God gave David the strength to face his giant. Through Christ all the things are possible, God doesn't send us into this battle on our own and he never gives us more then he knows that we are capable of overcoming.

So why is life so hard? Why does God allow us to go through struggles like this?

I've been reading through the book of Job with a good friend, it's such a great book to read! Job is a man who went through heart ache and so much pain because God allowed Satan to test him. Satan asserted that true believers are only faithful as long as they prosper. He thought that Job would turn his back on God because of the struggles he went through. But through it all Job turned to God and continued to glorify him!
How often when life get's tough do we complain about our issues to God? I know at times I often do. Job realized in the end that he didn't need to know everything or the answers to why this was happening, but to just trust in who God is.

Trust in who He is.

Trust in His promises.

Through Him we are Conquerors!

Real life is full of uncertainty, of meaningless suffering and so many questions! Faith in God is sometimes so hard, but it is just that - faith.

Romans 8:36

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107