In Romans 8:22, the apostle Paul comments that "the whole creation groans and suffers the pain of childbirth together until now". Over the past few weeks, we have had graphically depicted for us the consequences of this truth. The depth of suffering for the people of Bangladesh in wake of tsunamis and cyclones can only barely be imagined in this country. The continued starvation of Ethiopians and other Africans in the wake of droughts and barren soil, we have never begun to approach. The fears of the Kurds and problems facing the world in the wake of the 100 hour war earlier this year are largely foreign to our experience. How are we to respond? What does the Gospel of Jesus Christ have to say to us in light of this, and to these people? Where is the "good news"?
In a world which is increasingly becoming a global community, we cannot afford to insulate ourselves from problems on the other side of the globe. The way we live our lives and spend our money has a direct impact on these people. They are our neighbours, many are our brothers and sisters in Christ. In recent months, the pains of the rest of the world have also begun to touch us, with increasing unemployment coupled with still-high interest rates placing many families around us in difficulty, as well as adding to the problem of homelessness. The groan continues louder.
But for what does creation wait? Paul says it "eagerly awaits our adoption as sons" (Romans 8:23) Why? Because God's people are to supposed to make a difference to these problems. The way we live our lives and use our money should alleviate some of the pain and suffering felt in this world. Our role in the world is to continue the ministry of Christ to the poor and needy.
A focus on missionary organisations should not end at what we give to support missionaries directly engaged in these (and other similar) areas. It should lead us into prayer and action for such situations, that it becomes a regular part of the way we use what God has given us. In doing so, we will also learn and know more of the God who calls us to live for Him and all His people.
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