Friday, November 13, 2009

Helping Africa

This morning, for several reasons, I was thinking about Africa. Perusing photos from a recent medical missions trip some friends of mine made, memories of my times on the contitent broke over me like waves. I almost smelled the wild sage as our jeep drove across parts of the Vendi region of South Africa, and remember the face of hospitality in a tiny hut on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Then I happened across Justin Taylor's blog and read some thoughts about why aid to africa isn't working, and it got me thinking.

I’ve gone to Africa with a stethascope and bags of medicine enough times to know that the current strategy of putting bandaids on a gaping wound isn’t going to cut it.

The thing about it is that whether you are there or here, the need is ever present. There it is in the form babies dying in front of me with cerebral malaria and adults thin as rails from aids. Here it is in the long, drawn out nightmare that is alzheimer’s and the painfully extended deaths we elicit in our hospitals while flogging our dying with tubing and painful procedures.

The thing about approaching all this as Christ would is we fight agaist it as hard as we can because He called us to, and we do it in his name, offering cups of water as we are equipped. But the thing about it is still the crux of the gospel itself: all our striving will never be enough. The day we think we can solve it ourselves is the day that we stop relying on Him to be glorified in the midst of all the mess we make with the gifts He’s given, despite ourselves.

So we lift up our heads in the midst of all the muck of the decay and pain around us, fixing our eyes on the prize set before us, on the face of the One who has called us to fight the good fight and finish this race.