The strangest thing is happening. I am at home alone, Bev is out with two of the grandchildren. I am sitting in my favorite chair, warm and comfortable. The surround sound is cranked up fairly high and I am listening to some of the most wonderful orchestras as they play the marvelous Christmas classics. The Christmas tree is alight with ornaments that Bev made over the years. The nut crackers are standing guard as the Holy Family quietly gazes out of the Nativities that we have collected through the years. Santa himself has just descended down the chimney and stands there as a silent testimony to the gift that God himself gave us on the first Christmas. Beneath the tree the presents are carefully laid out encircled by the Christmas train. My loyal and precious CLWD (Cute little white dog) is cuddled in my lap. Bev and the grandchildren are due home in a while. What could be more perfect?

Yet all is not right. My heart is troubled. A dark cloud has settled somewhere in the depth of my soul. For a moment, I feel a chill. There is a vision before me. It is a hungry child, no, it is hundreds even thousands of hungry children, not just children, but also adults. They are not just hungry they are homeless. No Christmas trees to enjoy, no nutcrackers to stand guard, no chimneys for Santa to descend, no presents, no comfort, no food, just the miserable sameness day after day. They are all the same, no races, no particular ethnicity, just a sea of hurting humanity.

I am screaming at God, “Why, oh why must it be so. My heart is breaking. Take the vision away, please, please.” Out of the void, there is only silence. The deep silence that comes when one’s heart is breaking and I know a truth. As hurt as I am. God’s heart hurts worse; God doesn’t just see the vision, God is in the midst of the misery. God feels the pain, smells the horrible stench, hears the cries, knows the hunger, and holds the dying baby. Suddenly instead of screaming at God, I want to comfort God. Only if I could hold God’s hand or give God a hug. Then from the void I hear, “If you have done it for the least of these, you have done it for me”.

Thankfully, we have given generously to charity, we have been faithful to tithe to the church. Our gifts don’t bring me much comfort however. I know that we haven’t given all we should and could. I know that we are far too frivolous with the blessings we have received.

Now my mind is playing strange tricks on me. The vision is changing. I am seeing boys and girls, adults and old folks; all happy and filled, all with warm homes, all free from the utter hopelessness of abject poverty. And God says, “That has been my plan all along.” But you, my people just won’t cooperate. I have given you all of the resources necessary to feed and house all of my children, instead you continue to use those resources for your selfish pleasures. You judge the homeless and call them worthless, forgetting that they too are my children. You give but only so long as it doesn’t interfere with your pleasures. You see the misery around you, yet act as if your eyes are blind. You hear the pleas that are crying for help, but you act if your ears are deaf.”

Then God says, “In spite of your selfishness I have not given up on you. I still have hope that one day you will begin to see the vision that I have for a broken world and then you will start to partner with me and together we will heal the world.”

Now the vision is gone, I am still troubled in spirit, but I know there is hope and I am part of the plan to make the world better. We are beginning, but it is only a beginning. Each one of us able to read this can do a bit more, a bit more, and a bit more, increasing our giving just a bit day by day, year by year. Not just with money, but with time and prayer. Little by little, we can turn it around. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I will continue to do my part and encourage others to do the same. It can be and will better.

Copyright © 2010 Jack deJarnette

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Jack deJarnette

Jack deJarnette

I am a United Methodist Minister who in June 2008, was placed on incapacity leave due to kidney failure.  My kidneys failed due to immusuppression medications secondary to a heart transplant in 1997. The ministry is my second career having spent 12 previous years at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta as Chief Respiratory Therapist and Technical Director of Life Support Systems at Emory University School of Medicine. I  have a wonderful wife of 45 years, two super children, and four grandchildren. My life has been exciting, challenging, and full of wonder as in my early years I was concerned with saving lives and in my later years saving souls I was graduated  from Georgia Military Academy in 1961 (Woodward Academy). I attended Emory-at-Oxford College, The University of Georgia, Georgia State University, and Emory University for postgraduate work. I received my ministry credentials through the United Methodist Church Course of Study at Emory's candler School of Theology. My Theology is primarily Wesleyan and varies with the particular topic under discussion. I refuse to be labeled either liberal or conservative. My politics are moderate embracing what I hope is the best of all parties. I have a deep love for Christ, the Church, and the United States of America. Bev (my wife) and I are deeply thankful to God for the blessings that have been showered on us throughout our lives.