The grass crunched beneath me as I crossed the yard. Blades of dry, brown grass poked through the openings in my sandals. The ground that was desperately trying to sustain the grass was hard and cracked, begging for a drink. I turned on the sprinkler to give it some relief from the hot sun.
Coming back inside, I set the timer for the sprinkler and sat down at the computer to clear out some emails. This article was in my inbox from Sojourners: How Would Jesus Respond to Famine? I had heard of the drought and resulting famine in Africa, but I didn’t appreciate the scale. Twenty million people are currently staring down the barrel of starvation. The United Nations has called this the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII.
How long, O Lord? How much longer?
For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. – Roman 8:22-23
One bite of the forbidden fruit plunged us into misery. Not only humans, but all of Creation as well. A hostility arose between man and earth. Gone were the days of soft, fertile soil. Weeds and thorns sprang up to challenge. And ever since, obtaining food has come with great difficulty.
The timer sounded and shook me back into my reality. The sprinkler. It all seemed ridiculous now. Watering the grass. Watering – a frivolous act when so many across the horn of Africa were in desperate need of it. And the grass? While animal carcasses are filling up the dry landscapes of Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria, my grass will never sustain an animal.
It’s all absurd.
I felt, as I often do when hearing the pains of others, so guilty for the ease of my current longitude and latitude. But I have to remind myself that God was the one who placed me on this patch of His earth. Not there. But here. And on this patch of earth is where he challenges me to do something for those who live in greater hostility with their patch of earth.
Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. – Romans 8:20-21
One day Creation will be restored to its former glory. The pine tree will no longer bend and break from the weight of the snow. The crops will not fail in a drought. The seas will not rise up in anger and destroy the land that contains them. As the prophet Isaiah proclaimed:
In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together;
the leopard will lie down with the baby goat.
The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion,
and a little child will lead them all.
The cow will graze near the bear.
The cub and the calf will lie down together.
The lion will eat hay like a cow.
The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra.
Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm.
Until harmony is restored, what is to be done on your patch of earth? Firstly, take care of it. You know the drill – reduce, reuse, recycle. Secondly, help those who live in hostility in their land. Eight of the world’s largest relief organizations have partnered together to form the Global Emergency Response Coalition and have launched a fundraising campaign to combat the crisis in Africa. Do consider giving … even a small amount. In doing so, you will help restore hope and bring manna from heaven to those living at odds with their patch of earth.
P.S. If you need a little bit more of a nudge to act, read this by World Vision blogger, Kari Costanza: Food crisis in Kenya: 5 signs of hunger I’ve never seen