I've been reading lately - ok that's not new - but I've happened upon a couple of books in the last six months that have made me realize just how blessed I am due to an "accident" of birth . . . I live in the United States, one of the wealthiest countries on Earth, even in the midst of our economic crisis.
I could have died at birth, but instead doctors and nurses whisked me away to a special unit and pumped oxygen in my lungs, and kept me in an incubator for nearly two weeks of my life. Right there, that is a sign of wealth. And no, I'm not saying my parents were rich. I'm just saying I live in a country with accessible medical care. Due to medical help, I think of my life as a miracle. I'm living on borrowed, undeserved time.
Everything around me, as I sit in my house, screams wealth, and I don't live in the fanciest neighborhood or the fanciest house. Just having a house, furniture, a laptop, spices for cooking, food in the fridge and cupboards, books, a home entertainment system (tv, radio, speakers), clothes, and clean water - all this puts me, and mostly liked you if you are reading this on a computer screen in your home, in the top 10% in the world.
We are often tempted to look "up" the chain of success at our wealthier neighbors. So and so has a 2 million dollar mansion (ok, I don't know anyone in that category, but it's the kind of thing that gets splashed around in the media), and so and so has a new car, new kitchen, new, new, new . . . you get the idea.
When we look down the chain of wealth, we see that not everyone has a house, or stuff, or a change of clothes, or even clean water. Not everyone lives in safety.
In fact, when I look at the world's needs, and not at my wealthier neighbors, I see such an overwhelming need that I want to close my eyes against all that pain. What can I do for millions of children who have been forcibly trafficked into the sex trade? What can I do for millions without clean water? Without safety? Without food? Without a house? Without an education or any medical care? Without any hope in an eternal Savior?
Well, I can pray. I can hope. I can give. I can look for ways to reduce my spending on myself to give money to organizations that help. I can blog about it, and try to create awareness. I can pray again, and ask for the answers to those questions.
What can I do?
I can do what I'm doing now, and hope that tomorrow I have an even better answer.
If you want to know more about the needs of women and children in our world, check out these two books:
Half the Sky by Kristof and WuDunn
No Longer a Slumdog by K.P. Yohanan
If you want to know more about the general needs of people in our world, check out these websites:
And there are more organizations that help those in need. These are just a good place to start.
"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." Hebrews 1:3a