In my World Geography class, we are studying Africa. Her countries' imports, exports, and economic disparities. Africa... Uganda, especially... and her people have been heavy like a rock in the bottom of my heart for the last five years or so. The violence, the starving children, and the unspeakably terrible things the people endure and die from. If I could have one wish, it would be for their healing.
[Amazing photo by my good friend, Barbara Lapp.]
Until now, I hadn't done much study on the reasons the ugliness exists. The horn of Africa is definitely the most afflicted with starvation, but it wasn't always this way. Poor farming methods weigh in, too, but a huge reason for starvation is war. I didn't know this, but Somalia used to produce enough food for her people and have excess to export. Now, her people are among the world's most desperate for food.
"What happened?" my professor asked.
I wished I couldn't guess the answer, but I could. "War."
He nodded. "Every Somali owns a machine gun, but no one owns a plow."
Of all the possible remedies that crowd my head and make me wonder what my part to play in this orchestra, the throbbing beat of this verse is a recurring theme:
"And [God] will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.
Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they train for war."
-Micah 4:3 NASB
If it grieves us, how much more anguish must it bring our Father to see His children kill each other as their children die of hunger? It's senseless. Senseless! Horrible and terrible. I don't have all the answers, but I know a renewal of thought is desperately needed. And more possible than we might see.
If I had to choose just one, this sculpture would be my favorite piece of art in the world. It gives me goosebumps and makes my heart thump.
What makes my heart beat even faster is this: God invites us to engage in this vast renewal. He gives us disturbance, a vision, and hands to mold small changes every day. Changes that replace violence with peace.
Maybe someday I'll be able to go to Uganda or Somalia. But today I am here. And so, today, I will work for peace. Here. Now.