Friday, July 9, 2010

Holy Rage

I think about Burma a lot. It’s hard not to. I see the result of the military junta everyday. I see the poorest of the poor digging through garbage, because even that is better than the life they had in Burma. I see men who have had their lively hood stolen from them by a landmine, now with no choice but to hobble streets on one leg, unable to work. I’ve met children whose parents were murdered before their eyes, now living as orphans in a foreign land. I’ve met a man who stood up against the government and was imprisoned and forced to flee the country. Now, he is unable to return to Burma without being caught again. It’s been twenty years since he’s seen his parents.

I think about the victims. I blame the leaders and the army. But, the other day it occurred to me that the victims just aren’t the obvious poor, broken people. There are hidden victims as well. What about the soldiers? Those men are Burmese. They have families; they once had dreams and goals for their lives. They are looked at with fear, and secret distain for the horrendous acts they commit, but maybe on the inside their just as broken as those they are persecuting.

I wonder what that young soldier thought the first time he was ordered to attack that village. What flashed through his mind as he lit the bamboo huts on fire, and shot at the men, women, and children who emerged? What do they think as they plant the landmines bent on destroying the lives and crumbling the spirits of people who are not so unlike themselves? I think that the soldiers are victims just as much as anyone.

Prayer. There’s not much I can do. I can’t storm into Burma in a Holy Rage. I can’t make the military leaders give up their power. I can’t even enter the jungle to bring basic help to the millions of people hiding in fear, but I can pray. And, so can you. So, let’s pray. Let’s pray that the soldiers will see that they were not created for brining destruction on the innocent and helpless. Let’s pray that the soldiers will be brought to their knees before Jesus and that they will refuse to do the dirty work of the government. I pray that they will join with the people, that they will become one voice to declare, “We don’t want this anymore.” There’s not much that we can do on our own, but there’s everything that He can do through us.

*Yesterday I entered Burma and was able to see and experience for the first time the fear people live under. As I walked across the bridge that divides Thailand and Burma, I suddenly felt vulnerable and very unprotected. As I walked around the small border town, I felt an overwhelming presence of terror. Later, as I sat and prayed in Thailand, I was moved to petition for these people. Every few weeks or so, I’m going to go to the border and sit. I’m going to go to the border and pray. I’m going to go to the border and prepare my heart and will to be broken for the people of Burma. Would you like to join me? This week, I’ll be praying for the soldiers and military leaders. As God reveals to me ways in which we should be praying, I will share with you, or if you feel God is putting something on your heart then share it, and we can all join together to bring peace to Burma.


Wilson Hutchinson said...

"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Matt. 9: 37-38).

"And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit" (James 5:15-18).

"But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:44-48).

"...I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (I Timothy 2:1-4).

"O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babes and infants,
You have established strength
Because of your foes,
To still the enemy and the avenger." (Ps. 8: 1-2).

The soldiers do need prayer. They need to start being stilled by the mouths of babes and infants. They need to start meeting the person of Jesus in their weakest and most fragile targets. They need to start hearing the voice of God from the mouths of their own kids. The church needs to reach out to their families. The church needs to serve the wives and children of murders and thieves. The church needs to be filled with new labors to send out into the harvest of military souls. May God Bless the soldiers who have mutilated his people. May God bring them to their knees in confession for forgiveness. May God bring restitution and restoration to all who have suffered, and may he give to the people of Burma his peace.

In Jesus Name,
Let it be

Wilson Hutchinson said...

I’m hesitant to put up a second comment, especially after the last. It’s kind of…quite enough. But then I’m seriously thinking about this ‘praying for your enemies business,’ and I had a few more thoughts today while I was grading student workbooks that I thought really needed to be added. In a way, they qualify what I said earlier, rather hastily. Katie, your vivid post brought up a lot of passages to my mind that I just wanted to throw up onto the last comment, but some of what I said didn’t actually soak into my own head till later today. I was typing without really thinking or feeling. So here’s what I’ve been thinking…and only just starting to feel, and that, just a smidgeon.

First of all, praying for your enemies—praying for those who do horrific acts of injustice toward God’s children—is impossible for us. We simply cannot do it on our own. In fact, it’s not even natural; it’s actually revolting to us. However, there’s no easy way out, because Jesus demands it of us. He demands an impossible from us, and he exemplifies it when he forgives the criminal next to him on the cross with an absolutely ridiculous word of blessing—“Today you will be with me in Paradise”! So Jesus demands the impossible, knowing it’s impossible for us, and then says that God will do the impossible in us if we step out in faith.

Second, I realized today that if you actually take on, in your prayers, this kind of burden—that is, the injustices of an entire nation like Burma--you will collapse. No question. You have to expect it. Jesus, midway up mount Calvary, completely gave out. In his humanity, he actually needed another man—a mere mortal—to come along side him, and to help him with the sheer physical weight of his own cross. The church needs the church. And we have to expect a Jesus-collapse when we start taking up our enemy’s sin-burdens in our prayers. In other words, it costs. But then, it’s totally worth it, because it brings people into the Kingdom like brother Paul.

Last, the Church of America, the Church of Burma, the whole Church universal is not capable of the kind of outreach I hastily alluded to on the last comment—UNLESS, that is, we the church are so full of the Holy Spirit—The Spirit of Love and Healing and Compassion—that we CANNOT HELP but spill out everywhere, because we're too overwhelmingly full! In other words, no one but God, not even the entire Church, can output this degree of love by sheer will power. God’s the only one whose will naturally (or divinely) moves this way. I realized today that it’s relatively easy to talk lavishly about this sort of love—to string verses together in a line (and of course, not bad to do so, because it stirs us up to love and good works)—but then actually acting on it, doing it—getting down on your hands and knees and praying, daily—that’s an entirely different matter. And for flesh and blood, apart from God, it’s death, plain and simple; and actually, it’s death with God as well. (What’s wonderful though is that death with God is far far better than death without Him.) So for the healing of Burma, I think God needs to overflow his Church, and I think we should pray that he floods it!

O.K., now I will honestly try to hold my lips for a while and just listen.


Eric M. said...


I enjoyed reading through your posts (I think I made it about half way through). It's great hearing about what you are up to.

Steadfast! (as Kyle says)