It's been a month since I last posted....mostly I've been busy with my soap business. The time leading up to Christmas sales is always a busy time for me, since all stock is made by hand by me. Aside from this and having nothing to do with soap I wanted to share some thoughts that have been on my heart and swirling around in my head. They've come into my head, my consciousness because I selected some books in a second hand bookshop a couple of months ago and let these real things which are still happening in our world today be made known to me.
These are the books I read:
Slave: The extraordinary true story of a young Sudanese girl who was kidnapped and sold into slavery and how she finally escaped to freedom. (An excellent read - I cried quite a lot).
Synopsis: Mahmoud's passion for his wife Fereiba, a schoolteacher, is greater than any love she's ever known. But their happy, middle-class world-a life of education, work, and comfort-implodes when their country is engulfed in war, and the Taliban rises to power.
Mahmoud, a civil engineer, becomes a target of the new fundamentalist regime and is murdered. Forced to flee Kabul with her three children, Fereiba has one hope to survive: she must find a way to cross Europe and reach her sister's family in England. With forged papers and help from kind strangers they meet along the way, Fereiba make a dangerous crossing into Iran under cover of darkness. Exhausted and brokenhearted but undefeated, Fereiba manages to smuggle them as far as Greece. But in a busy market square, their fate takes a frightening turn when her teenage son, Saleem, becomes separated from the rest of the family.
Faced with an impossible choice, Fereiba pushes on with her daughter and baby, while Saleem falls into the shadowy underground network of undocumented Afghans who haunt the streets of Europe's capitals. Across the continent Fereiba and Saleem struggle to reunite, and ultimately find a place where they can begin to reconstruct their lives.
*I found this book hard to put down and even though it's only a story, it concerns real things that are happening still in our world today. I stayed up late at night reading more and tears flowed as my heart went out to the suffering of these displaced people.
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The title of this post is why read?
As you can see the three books I read are all different subjects, but the thread that connects them all is human suffering.
I read because I want to understand. I want to be aware. I want to be informed. I want to know so I can intercede in prayer. I want to pray for people, even those I don't know. Our very humanity connects us all. We are all made in the image of God.
You'd have to be living isolated in the woods, or on an island of one to not notice what's happening in our world right now and it's not pretty. It involves layers upon layers upon layers. Nothing is quite how it seems and there is no easy answer. It's hard to know what to believe in the media and just what the agenda is of some of these people. What I do believe is that when we don't know our history, when we think that we as human beings are capable of making a brighter future all on our own, without any understanding, belief in or awareness of the nature of sin in the hearts of mankind then we are doomed to fail. History shows us that socialist agendas never work. Greed, selfishness, oppression and cruelty always end up fueling those who are in power. People have ridiculous utopian notions that we can all live as one, share everything in common and all 'be kind' and get along (without acknowledging what really exists in people's hearts). Outside of Christ, this is impossible. Even with Christ, I see people behaving badly...which is very very sad. I see compromise all around, even in the church...Oh how it grieves my heart.
Just recently here in New Zealand we had a four week lockdown, because of Covid 19, as many countries have also had and may continue to be in. One of the saddest things to come out of that was to see how many people dobbed in their neighbours and strangers or maybe people they knew that they thought warn't abiding by the lockdown rules. While no doubt people justified this action, thinking they are helping the greater good, I wonder if it was all noble. It reminded me of the second world war, where people would dob in their Jewish neighbours, where people willingly signed up with evil regimes because they thought they were helping some great cause. I was shocked to see how quickly and willingly people would behave this way in my own country. As the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us: Ecclesiastes 1:9 'What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
The only peace I have in this life comes from the Lord, it comes from knowing that I am loved even when I don't deserve it. Passages of scripture like Romans 5:7 & 8 inspire me:
'For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.'
and Matthew 13:15 'For this people's heart has grown callous; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn, and I would heal them.'
What our world needs right now is prayer - lots of it. It needs people whose hearts won't become hardened, who won't turn their back on their neighbour, who won't ignore suffering, who will offer a cup of water to whoever needs it. Who will pray to have their heart grieved by what grieves the heart of our Lord. The greatest thing we can do for the Lord is make Him known. However that may look in our individual situations.
As Christ himself answered, Luke 10: 27‘ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
Blessings to you all - I pray this writing speaks to someone today ~ Linda