Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Knowing when to stop...

We have all seen those terrible videos or watched it on the news-someone is being robbed, beat up or is laying in the street hurt-and people are walking by, not stopping or willing to help.  When I watch it on the news I am in disbelief-shocked-and angry...I find myself yelling at the T.V. "What would happen if that was YOU! And people were walking by YOU! How would you feel!"  There are other words I throw in there-but you get my point...But then there are other situations when it is not as clear if you should stop and help someone.  I have heard in some places that thieves will pretend to be hurt on the side of the road and when someone stops to help them a gang of thieves jumps out and attacks/robs the very person that was going to help them!  What a messed up place we live in...

Here in Liberia-we face these situations a lot.  You see a person lying on the side of a busy road, people and cars passing by as if they are not even there.  Should I stop?  Maybe they are just drunk and passed out?  Maybe they are homeless and just sleeping?  Maybe...I try and justify why I shouldn't stop instead of asking for wisdom and discernment from God and then acting on it.  Many of our staff have stopped and helped many people-and on most occasions the people are grateful and thankful that we are true to our name -Samaritan's Purse.

For those of you who are not familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan-I encourage you to read it-it can be found in Luke 10:25-37.  A fellow SP staff member, who has studied this passage, shared with us last fall some new insights into this story that have helped me better understand "when to stop".  For example; The Samaritan man that stopped took a risk in stopping to help-there were thieves in the area and he was travelling on a dangerous passage of road.  The Samaritan got down and got dirty-cleaning the man's wounds and then lifting him onto his donkey.  He wasn't scared that the man might have a disease or that he was from another tribe or an 'untouchable' he got down and cared for him. The Good Samaritan committed to taking care of the injured man.  He took him to an inn-made sure the inn keeper understood that the injured man needed care and then left money to cover the costs-he even returned to pay any additional costs that the inn-keeper might have incurred.

The roads that we stop on...
(Photo: Joni Byker)

Earlier this year I told you the sad story of baby Eveleen who died.  We made the decision to stop and help this little baby, but that doesn't always mean that a person will survive.  Alisa took a risk, got down and got dirty and committed to help this little life-but sometimes that doesn't guarantee that a person will live or not be hurt.  Recenlty, we have been faced with another decision 'should we stop or not'...once again Alisa has brought to our attention a little boy of 12 suffering with seizures, his mother has abandon him, no one to get him to a hospital for treatment.  When Alisa picked him up to bring him to the Foya hospital he weighed 17kg...that is 35lbs...12 years old. 

I was talking to Alisa on the phone about this situation, how God had provided funds to help him through some friends, how it just happened that Alisa was in the village and saw this little boy and now here we were and I asked her "Alisa are we ready to commit to this boy?"  Without hesitation we both agreed that yes, we need to commit and follow through for this little boy.

I could give you numerous other examples of how our staff 'knew when to stop', take a risk, get down and dirty with the suffering, and commit to help in whatever way we could.  There is our CMP staff helping protect a spring for a community, CMP staff helping a family whose house burnt down, recently our Foya staff helped a community who were victims of a fire; or stopping to help a woman who was walking to a clinic-suffering through the pains of pre-mature labour.  The list goes on and on.  Knowing when to stop, taking a risk regardless the situation, getting down and get dirty no matter who it is or what they are suffering from and then commiting to make sure they are not forgotten. That is what our SP staff are doing everyday.

Following through on our commitments...
(photo: Joni Byker)

Knowing when to stop-my hope and prayer is that I, you and everyone would have the love and wisdom to just stop and help.  That we wouldn't, like I do sometimes, try and justify why we shouldn't stop.  Take a risk, get down and get dirty and commit-you never know when it will be you, laying on the road hurt or on the side of the road with a broken down car, hoping and praying that someone would just stop and help (remember we live in a country with no road side service and no 911!).

During my long 20 mile run this past weekend I was faced with "knowing when to stop" in a very different way.  Around mile 17.5 I had some pain on the top of my right foot-the more I ran and walked the more my pain went from a 6/10 to a 7/10 and was increasing.  I was grateful for Kim (SP Staff) who was running those last couple of laps with me who encouraged me to stop and ice my foot.  As I hobbled to the porch of the SP staff house Joni also encouraged me to stop and ice my foot before I did real damage and wouldn't be able to run the marathon.  I did not want to stop.  I wanted to push through the last 1.5 miles and finish the 20 miles that was on my training schedule.  However, I heeded the advice and wisdom of my friends and stopped, iced and rested.  I am so glad I did! Knowing when to stop-whether it is to help someone or to help you from doing further damage is something that I don't do enough-and from watching the news-it's something that this world doesn't do enough!

I am so thankful that I am surrounded by friends and SP staff that DO know when to stop-they are making a huge difference in this country and the lives of everyone they come into contact with.  Including their marathon running co-worker!


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