E-Letter 167

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Devotions | 0 comments

     I strain to hear the Good Shepherd’s voice, the One who, at the dawn of time, walked and talked in a pristine garden with Adam and Eve. That first couple, naked and innocent, whispered awake at dawn by the Divine Gardener, rubbed the sleep from their eyes and listened to promises of blessedness hidden in the unfolding of a day. In this garden of Eden, the first man and woman had only to tune their ears to the words of the One True Voice revealing the joy to be found in tending a paradise of living things around them – plants, animals, and each other.

When, I wonder, did the couple turn away from the divine promptings breathed into a morning sky?  Did it happen in the blink of an eye, at the urging of one of a multitude of voices  inviting them to stand on tiptoe and reach high for a piece of forbidden fruit dangling from a tree in the middle of their garden?  Or was that teetering moment of reaching the culmination of  their countless small decisions to look elsewhere, momentarily and necessarily? What, exactly, diverted a caring couple from hearing the Life-giving Voice?

I try to remember the multitude of shrill voices that vied for my attention when the story hit the airwaves about the mass kidnapping of nearly 300 teenage girls from a high school in Chibok, a remote village in Nigeria. In early April, a loose-knit local terrorist group with alleged al Qaeda ties, the Boko Haram, rounded up the young girls at gunpoint and marched them from their dormitory beds into the country’s dense, impenetrable rainforest. The anguished cries of frightened parents searching for their missing daughters fell on deaf ears for nearly a month – until the terrorist group made known its intention to sell the girls as sex slaves to bride-seeking men and soldiers in neighboring Chad and Cameroon. More incredible is the local and international silence that followed the stories of a handful of girls who eluded the reach of their kidnappers. What, exactly, diverted caring nations from hearing voices crying for life?

I strain to hear the Good Shepherd’s voice, the One who, at the dawn of this day, rushes headlong through the tangled underbrush of a rainforest in Nigeria, a man-made garden of evil, in search of his beloved children. Hearing the faraway anguished cries of the naked and innocent a continent away, he left at dawn, leaving behind a sackful of his tears in a bulging spider’s web cradled in the branches of a tree shading the radishes in my less-than-pristine garden. Able to hold no more Life-giving Water, the spider web released the overflow as I stood by, and in the staccato of falling tears I heard the question meant for my ears, “What, exactly, diverts a caring person like you from hearing voices crying for Life?”

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.  (Isaiah 53:4)