Friday, August 17, 2007

how to save a life

I cannot speak of my heart burning and not speak of the passion within it for South Africa. As I am faced with the problem of AIDS in that nation, my heart aches for her.

What can I do for Africa? How can I love her when my heart is so broken for her? How can I dream for her future, when all I can see ahead is her death? In her despair, I must be strong for Africa. I must know that in the midst of all this tragedy and despair--there is hope.

What can I, as a stranger, really do for South Africa? Her blood runs in my veins; the same blood that has become infected with a disease that threatens the lives of so many in that beloved country. I cannot heal her medically. I cannot ease her pain. I cannot erase the problem of AIDS from her continent. I cannot tell the suffering child that he can have tomorrow. I cannot promise the dying mother that her children will not follow her to her grave. I cannot assure the diseased working man that his strength will return. I cannot tell Africa that her people will again live without the presence of death. But what I can do for Africa, is restore her dignity. I can revive her pride. Together, we can return her humanity to her. As millions of Africans daily face death, we can give them back their life.

It's easy to feel as though we cannot help Africa because we have no basis with which to comprehend her pain; but we must remind ourselves that what we can understand is her humanity. Alec Brooks, professor at
Bethany College of Missions spoke these words: "I know that when people are joyful, they laugh because I have laughed. I know that when people are sorrowful, they cry because I have cried. I know that when you are sick, you want to be cared for because I want to be cared for. I know these things because I am human. When you cut them, they bleed; when you beat them, they hurt; when you slight them, they feel the sting of that. I recognize these feelings because they are common to me--I am human, as they are, and I have been created by God just as they have been. These people share my longings, my yearnings and my dreams. I will treat them as such."

There is hope for Africa. By loving her and by caring for her people, we can restore Africa's dignity, her honor and her life. You have a voice. Give her hope.