Thursday, October 18, 2012

{19} There are Waits More Horrific Than Yours

I'm propped against pillows and covered with blankets in the dark of the bedroom.  Brad walks in to see my face horror stricken and tear-stained in the glow of the laptop.  I am watching Hotel Rwanda.  

Brad laughs and shakes his head.  "It's sick how addicted you are to that story of genocide.  You know that, right?"  

It's true.  This week alone, I've watched one movie, one documentary, and read most of a book about the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis of Rwanda.  Why?  Because we think our daughter was (is?) a Tutsi.  (And yes, we adopted her from Uganda, but her paperwork suggests her birth parents were Rwandan refugees.)

And so my interest began as a journey into my daughter's roots.  But now, my fascination has more to do with the shock, horror, and hope of it all...

How does hope live on... 
while babies are ripped from machete-cut wombs...
while pastors burn down their own churches to kill the hunted hiding within its walls...
while best friends and neighbors turn on you, call you "cockroaches," gang rape you, seek to kill you in torturous, demonic ways?

How did the world stand by and watch as 800,000 people were slaughtered?
(Worse yet, experts think we'd simply stand by and watch again, so long as the slaughter was in Africa.)

And so I force myself to watch and read about the Rwandan genocide...
to know in detail the most horrific piece of history in my lifetime...
to see what evil thrives when we turn blind eyes to the desperate needs of this world...
to know the guilt I own when I claim, "What does __ problem have to do with me?"

I want the genocide to haunt me.  To preach to me.  
Here is what the Rwandan genocide has told me so far:

  • My complaints are petty.
  • My potential for evil is enormous.
  • My potential for courageous good is even bigger, assuming Christ lives in me.
  • A self-absorbed disinterest in world events might stain my hands with bloodguilt.
  • Apathy might be the greatest evil there is.
  • Division between human beings is always a superficial lie.
  • The human spirit is amazing and resilient.
  • If Rwanda can forgive... if these people are reconciling... there is no grudge I should ever hold.
  • Forgiving = believing Christ's blood paid for even the wrong done to you, so you have no grounds to harbor resentment.

And maybe it's a big fat stretch to put this post in  my waiting series.

But maybe not.

Because sometimes, when we wait and hurt, we need to remember we're not the only victims.
We don't hurt the worst.
We don't bear the deepest wounds.
There are those with aches greater than ours who bravely drop resentment and press on with grace.

I don't say this to minimize your pain. I don't mean to be insensitive, but to make us all more sensitive to the tragedies and triumphs of humanity.

Sometimes, we need to be inspired by those who face far greater losses with courage and forgiveness and hope.  

Christians aim to walk with childlike faith.  Hope.  
To hope when all looks hopeless is perhaps the bravest act there is.


I highly recommend reading The Bishop of Rwanda.
Check out these quotes:

"Scripture makes it clear that God prefers to use the broken pieces.  Then, whatever He does in our lives, we cannot take credit for it."

"It is wrong to say that Rwanda was forgotten or hated by God. That is like saying that God forgot Jesus when He was on the cross.  Jesus cried out in pain because He felt forsaken, but God had not forsaken Him.  God was with Him in His pain, helping Him to achieve His purpose through that pain.  Rwanda was abandoned and forgotten by the rich and powerful nations, but God did not forget Rwanda."

"In such circumstances, if you don't speak out clearly, you are participating.  Morally, ethically you cannot shut up."

"The horror and brutality were extreme in Rwanda.  That's why when we talk about reconciliation, when we talk about forgiveness, we are not talking about an easy thing here.  We are talking about shedding miles of tears before one is able to forgive.  And to repent of such cruelty requires divine motivation and the divine presence just to attempt it.  It cannot be done without God.  As a human being, to be able to repent of such demonic cruelty requires the cross of Jesus right in the middle of it."


Please consider looking through the comments in this series 
and praying for our sisters who wait.


Waiting? Hurting? 
Have God-glorifying ideas for this series?
Comment or email me.
We'd love to pray for you all month.


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Today was Day 19 of
31 Days of Waiting:
Day 1     Day 2     Day 3     Day 4     Day 5     Day 6     Day 7     Day 8     Day 9     Day 10     Day 11     Day 12     Day 13     Day 14     Day 15     Day 16     Day 17     Day 18     Day 19     Day 20     Day 21     Day 22     Day 23     Day 24     Day 25     Day 26     Day 27     Day 28     Day 29     Day 30     Day 31


hannah said...

This is a great reminder. I needed it today.

Lunamoth said...

Well done good and faithful servant.

RACHEL said...

Hannah, I need the reminder EVERY day! :)

PotterMama said...

We are in the process of bringing out 4yo son home from Uganda, I am in love with your blog! While I still have a lot more reading to do before I put all the pieces of "your life" together, I just want to thank you for your encouragement! And, I will have to watch Hotel Rwanda.
I did have to laugh about the comment your husband made- my husband has told me that my hobby is "looking at orphans on the internet" LOL.