Friday, November 02, 2007

Blessed Nation?

In Psalms 37:25, it is recorded that David, the King of Israel said, I was young, and now I'm old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging bread.

I've always considered this scripture a promise rather than a statement of someones observation. The other night Stephanie told me about a father who brought four of his kids to the orphanage. All were very hard of hearing or completely deaf. The oldest were in their late teens, so adoption really was not plausible. The family was obviously close to one another and to the Lord. But, the father was worried about his kids, who were ostrasized and abused in their village. He wanted more for them. They had managed as a family to send two of the children to a deaf school, and these two kids had taught the others sign language.

I thought about it long after she told me the story and this scripture came to mind. The next day, we went to visit Dr. Mary. I mentioned the scripture to her and she said fiercely, that verse should not be in the Bible. That, or it is just David's observation. It is simply not true.

Then she described the story of a poor, Christian mother. There are thousands here like her. She lives in a dirt hut where the roof leaks. The floor becomes mud in the rainy season, and she has no furniture. So, she spends the nights holding her children up, out of the water. In the morning, she is soaked to the core, muddy and very cold. But, she has no change of clothing, so to wash herself, she must go the fridgid river waters and wash her clothing while she wears it. Then, she must go, wet, and search for work to order to buy flour. Then she must find wood and light it in the rain to bake bread her food for her family. She is not dry or warm for months.

I have grown up hearing that the United States is blessed because in our early roots, we are a Christian nation. Ethiopia's roots are the same, only older. From Jewish to Christian, this is a country founded on faith in God. So, why is she not blessed the way we are blessed? I question now, is blessing equal to financial success? Are we somehow better than the people here so God chooses to give to us?

Often when I walk here, I think it must be so much like walking in the context of Biblical times. The culture is emotional, and respect for proper heirarchy considered very important. I can imagine two women fighting over a child, and one woman agreeing the child should be split. I can see why goats and sheep need to be separated, because they look alike. I can picture shaking the dust of a town from your feet, or washing someone's feet out of love for them.

"Cry out to Me and I will answer" says God in another scripture.

My young translator told me a story from his youth. "I was on my own from the time I was six years old because my parents did not have enough food. I had some torn clothes, and I was embarrassed because they did not cover me. One day I was so cold becuase of the rain, I said, God, please help me find some clothes. I had the feeling to walk straight down this road. A man came out of his house and said to me, "you look cold. Please, go down to the building on this street, they are giving clothes." God provided for me clothes that day."


Laura said...

I have read this at least a half a dozen times since it was posted.

Owlhaven said...

What hard questions.

I am linking to your blog.

Mary, mom to many, including 2 Wollaitta girls, one of whom was cared for by Dr. Mary

a moore said...

One of the things I worry about is that when we all die and approach the throne of God these children will be with him and then we will have to make answer.

I wonder that our interpretation of blessed isn't somewhat different than God's. I'm not entirely sure america is a blessed nation or that she is anymore or better blessed that Ethiopia and other nations. Differently blessed, maybe. American's suffer from a hardness and a blindness that I don't think I've seen as much of in other nations. I wonder if that isn't the burden that Americans carry and when God sees us He sees us no different than the widow and the orphan.

No real answer for children begging bread- I'm sure David didn't and maybe that vs. was meant to apply to David's time literally.

But the righteous forsaken, I don't believe God "forsakes" the righteous. He holds them nearer and has a plan we can make no sense of. That is the knowledge I try to keep very fresh at hand on hard days. I'm very thankful things aren't according to my plan but God's.

Heidi Mehltretter said...

Many thanks to Owlhaven, who linked to my blog and started a very interesting discussion at

the ewings said...

I loved this entry and also think that being blessed by God comes from knowing Him. In the limited time and area that we covered on our trip to Ethiopia, I've never seen so much joy in the eyes of people who in the worlds standards have nothing but they have the Lord and rely on Him more than we allow ourselves to rely because we have "Stuff".

Such hard things to ponder but I beleive that God allows things to happen and maybe He is waiting to see our response to this need. That has been resignating in me lately - how can I help make the need known and do something myself to make a difference.
Beautifully written HM!