Even so, Lord Jesus, Come
Our sensitivity is being eliminated. What used to cause us to feel empathy for those with daily needs of poverty, pain, hunger, and isolation does not bring the response that it once did. Why? Lots of reasons, I’m sure. However, it may be that we are feeling “compassion fatigue”. I’m not sure that is a real term, but it is a real problem. We are so bombarded by the tragedies globally due to the instant news of every significant sorrow on the globe that we become numb. The result is that those nearest to us are often overlooked as being “not as critical” a need “as the horrible scene that I just saw on television”.
For those that are hurting, all pain is too much. All suffering is too long. All extension of living without necessities is debilitating and depressing. And, all of the feeling of people that are prospering believing that folks are “on the street” because they just are inept at life is not always true. The single mom that had her husband leave her with 3 small children, no job, no training for a job, and no income did not dream of living in her car. The veteran that came home “wounded” internally and “invisibly” in his mind due to severe PTSD did not long to come home to a curb for a pillow. Christ told us to be compassionate. “Inasmuch as you do it (show love) to one of the least of these, you have done it unto me!”
MISSIONARY Gregory Fisher writes of an experience years ago: “What will He say when he shouts?” The question took me by surprise. I had already found that West African Bible College students can ask some of the most penetrating questions about minute details of Scripture.
“Reverend, I Thess. 4:16 says that Christ will descend from heaven with a loud command. I would like to know what that command will be.”
I wanted to leave the question unanswered, to tell him that we must not go past what Scripture has revealed, but my mind wandered to an encounter I had earlier in the day with a refugee from the Liberian civil war. The man, a high school principal, told me how he was apprehended by a two-man death squad. After several hours of terror, as the men described how they would torture and kill him, he narrowly escaped. After hiding in the bush for two days, he was able to find his family and escape to a neighboring country. The escape cost him dearly: two of his children lost their lives.
The stark cruelty unleashed on an unsuspecting, undeserving population had touched me deeply. I also saw flashbacks of the beggars that I pass each morning on my way to the office. Every day I see how poverty destroys dignity, robs men of the best of what it means to be human, and sometimes substitutes the worst of what it means to be an animal. I am haunted by the vacant eyes of people who have lost all hope.
“Reverend, you have not given me an answer. What will he say?” The question hadn’t gone away. “Enough,” I said. “He will shout, ’Enough’ when he returns.” A look of surprise opened the face of the student. “What do you mean, ’Enough’?” “Enough suffering. Enough starvation. Enough terror. Enough death. Enough indignity. Enough lives trapped in hopelessness. Enough sickness and disease. Enough time. Enough” (Copied).