Wrestling With Redemption

As I am preparing for a devotional that I’ll be giving to the other interns tomorrow, I thought that it would be helpful to blog out my thoughts and that perhaps you could benefit from my preparations. (If you’re an intern and are reading this, then I apologize for the sneak peak)

I left the office the other night not having a clue on what I could do for a devotional. I just began praying as I walked to the bus stop that the Lord would just place something on my heart. I want to share something that is applicable to all of interns here; you know something that I felt like all of us could relate to. So as I sat down on the bus I looked to front left corner of the bus, next to the bus driver, and saw two small children asleep on the ground. They were cuddled together under the seat, a brother and sister, trying to find rest amidst the stop and go motion of the bus. Dad was driving, mom was collecting the money as passengers got on, and there laid one little boy and girl. I couldn’t look away. I’ve seen tragic things here in Bangkok, but in the moment that I made direct eye contact with the little boy that I became heavily burdened for not just these kids, but also this family. My initial thoughts were that this is wrong and these kids should be at home, asleep in bed. My thoughts then quickly shifted to my sweet niece and nephew back home in Texas. I pictured their smiling faces and felt deep love for them. With that said, I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that I want nothing but the best for my niece and nephew. I want them to have all the things I had growing up: a safe home, loving parents, the best possible education, to make friends, to grow to know Jesus, and in this moment couldn’t help but think about how I want them to have a place where they can lay their head at night and sleep peacefully. When comparing the two scenarios, the reality of these two kids were asleep on this bus and the situation that my niece and nephew are growing up in, in that moment I decided that one situation was redeemed and the other wasn’t. It was wrong that these kids had to sleep on this bus. It was wrong that these parents have to work so hard to provide for their family, so hard that it prevented their kids to sleep in a bed. I didn’t understand. I couldn’t stop staring at these kids. I wish I could say I got off that bus with a lesson learned, but I didn’t. I left burdened for these children and with the question of, how is this situation redeemed? I got to the office the next morning and literally did a Google search for verses in the Bible that talk about redemption and this one stood out in particular: “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:20.” And through HIM all things will be reconciled. Can it really be that simple? It’s like the cliché Sunday school answer… Jesus! But I just don’t understand how this particular family coming to know Jesus redeems their situation. They’re still going to work hard to make ends meet and there will probably be more nights where their children will have to sleep on the bus floor. It’s just hard to believe that when I’m surrounded by such poverty. Of course I know that through Jesus all things are redeemed. He is the giver of life, provider, sustainer, and so much more. I know this to be true, but in this context it just seems different. My first inclination when I saw these kids was to think that the way to redeem this situation was to remove them from their situation completely and place them in a situation where they could have “the American dream”, but that thought is wrong too. You may be surprised that I am wrestling with the idea that Jesus is enough, but that saying is easy for me to say because I grew up “wealthy”. I admit that when I saw these kids asleep on the bus my thoughts were fixated on how I wish they weren’t so poor and not on the fact that there is a good chance that these kids won’t be raised in a home that knows Christ. However, I don’t think I was wrong because I believe we should be burdened for both. Thankfully I am serving with a ministry that is striving to redeem both and I’m thankful that I am in a position to learn how to do both. I’m learning more and more about the state of our world. I am guilty of looking through the American lens when it comes to the world, but sadly not everyone is prosperous. Evil exist all around us, poverty, corruption, slavery, illness, starvation, and countless others. When living in a context where you tangibly see all of these things on a daily basis it’s hard to see redemption or believe that it’s even possible, but may we carry the burdens of this world and hope in the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.