ROUND-UP, a/k/a BREAKING MY HEART . . .
I don't know anything about mining and have never been even remotely interested in it, but following the story of the trapped miners in Utah is like reading the most exciting, most tragic, most harrowing, most gut-wrenching book ever written.
Miners get trapped but are presumed alive. Air holes are drilled into the space where the trapped miners are believed to be; oxygen is detected, but no carbon dioxide. A camera is dropped into another hole and signs of life are seen, but still no miners. A microphone is lowered and when all other machines are turned off, some sort of noise is heard over a span of five minutes - no one knows what that noise was. Rescue workers start drilling a bigger hole and need to go in about 2,000 feet; 800 feet in, the hole collapses again and several rescuers are killed. Rescue efforts are put on hold until the mountain is deemed safe, but no one knows when that will be. And looming over all of these events are the friends and family members who are beyond waiting at this point; "dread," "anxiety," "fear," "sadness" all seem like the most inadequate words these days.
Lately, we've been talking a lot at NHF about praying for big things, believing on God for humongous miracles, and not being people who would relegate miraculousness to days long past. So I guess we just all have to keep on keepin' on ...
At least 510 people are dead and 17,000 people displaced by the magnitude-8.0 earthquake that hit Peru earlier in the week. And as if that wasn't devastating enough, now the local police are warding off looters and mobs by shooting their weapons into the air. It's a terrible thing all around.
Tuesday night, four coordinated truck bombs went off in a residential area in Iraq, killing at least 250 people. Add this to the list of things I don't comprehend: deliberately choosing a residential neighborhood, housing your countrymen, women and children (whether you like them and their religious beliefs or not), and blowing up four enormous trucks with the singular goal of killing as many of them as you can. The hardness and evil that must have been in these perpetrators' hearts and minds is more gruesome to me even than the imagined sight of mangled and dead bodies.
A crazy-huge flood in North Korea has killed about 85 people, left about 60 people missing, left 300,000 people homeless, destroyed 58,000 homes, decimated 222,400 acres of farmland, and wrecked more than 800 public buildings, 540 bridges, 70 portions of railway, 30 water reservoirs, 450 agricultural structures and 500 electricity towers. It just doesn't seem fair, does it, to kick these folks when they're down. The effort is to see truth, that it's not a kicking as much as it is a divine act with some sort of purpose, a good purpose somewhere down the line. Not our will, but Yours.
Two South Korean women who were being held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan arrived in Seoul today. During an airport interview, one woman apologized for causing such concern. WHAT?!?! Woman, you did a GREAT thing. You went to Afghanistan on a mission of mercy, help, grace, love. You were brave and adventurous, and you survived a hard, horrifying ordeal. What in the world do you have to apologize for? Shame, instead, on your country-folk, who raised you up in a culture where you have to apologize for being bold and big-hearted and loving your God.
And on the home front: what does it take to bring loved ones to the banquet table? To stir in their hearts a longing for all that is good? To melt from them the ice-casing of bitterness, insecurity, pessimism and a criticizing nature? To show them love and not have them hold it off at arms-length? To have them lay down the things they hold up as defensive walls, and see just a little glimmer of light?
Answer: lots and lots of prayer, lots and lots of tears, lots and lots of patience, lots and lots of every good thing only the Lord can give me.