Burning Soap Boxes (Still Waiting)

“I waited patiently for the Lord, he inclined and heard my cry…”
~Psalm 40

I am having significant difficulty starting this post.  Primarily, I think that it’s because I have many opinions that I would like to share on the topic of suffering: the role men play in creating it; the role men play in exacerbating it; the role the church plays in alleviating it.  I reckon others have dealt with this topic more gracefully, thoughtfully, and with a higher degree of skill.

There are people who get paid to do this stuff, you know.

I’d like to write about the internet, how it’s clogged with causes, all worthy, all accompanied by weepy-eyed photographs.  I’d like to ask why those posts, written with all the passion in the world, leave a community of people unmobilized.  Perhaps I could opine on compassion fatigue. Perhaps I could opine on my own apathy.

Lord knows I’m tired.

But the truth is, as much as I’d love to share a call to action, as much as I’d love to ask you to liquidate your bank accounts, that won’t solve anything. Tough pill to swallow… I know.

Soap boxes are easy things to construct.  I know because I’ve built them.  And they are built for all the right reasons, for all the best ones.  But my latest trip to East Africa has redirected me a bit.  Yes, there are significant issues of “justice and mercy” playing out in the highlands and the rift valleys. Yes, I could share stories that would make your head swim with ideas, with killer internet water well fund-raising events.  But many of those stories are private, or personal, or potentially manipulative, and so, on that account, I’ll keep a bit more quiet.

There are facts to be considered, still.  There is a drought in East Africa.  It is a different kind of drought, one not being covered by the BBC.  There is a collection of people groups comprising a population of 14 million (give or take).  There are less than 2,500 known believers in those groups.  There is persecution.  There is victory.  There is singing. There is joy. But Christ have mercy, it’s dry.

I’m waiting patiently this time because I don’t know what else to do. I’m praying this time because it seems right. I’m not asking you to cease striving for justice or mercy, or anything like that. But if you’d like to wait it out with me, I’d love the company.

And if you’d like to know what you’re praying for, drop me a quick comment. I’ll send you an email.

This entry was posted in Ethiopia and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Burning Soap Boxes (Still Waiting)

  1. eloranicole says:

    Send me an e-mail, brother. I’ll pray and wait with you.

  2. shelg says:

    I’m in a season of waiting and crying out… part of me has always been in Africa and I always thought I would be “doing” more but the Lord continues to close doors. I will pray and wait..let me know how.

  3. “But, Christ have mercy, it’s dry.” God, I love this line. And we’ve caused our own compassion fatigue because we’ve exploited too many bloated bellies? I don’t know. I’m thinking on this.

    Send me an email.


  4. Alyssa Duncan says:

    I will wait with you. And pray. I know we don’t know each other. But I can relate to how you feel. I’ve been in a simliar place since I got back from East Africa. Please email me and let me know if there is anything specific I can be praying for.-Alyssa

  5. HopeUnbroken says:

    i’d love to have an e-mail, too. thanks.

  6. Josh says:

    I’m usually just an occasional lurker here – but something about this makes me feel as though you and I may be in a similar place right now, though different in context and geography. In that sense, I will pray without asking you to send details to someone you don’t know. Please accept a stranger’s appreciation and blessing, and may you receive God’s peace from the confident expectation that He does not ask us to wait for nothing.

    • sethhaines says:


      Glad you delurked. I’ll be sending the information to everyone who responded here at the close of business. That will give other lurkers and opportunity to come out of the wood work.

      Again, thanks for popping in. Peace to you.

  7. Glynn says:

    Seth – send me an email (gyoung9751@aol.com). I’ll be praying.

  8. Yup, me, too, Seth. I think you’ve got mine somewhere in the works here.

  9. I’ll be praying, too. I’d like to know what you saw. Maybe some day Scott and I can share a meal with you and Amber.

  10. Linda says:

    I’ll pray too, please send me an e-mail.

  11. sunnysib says:

    Please include me on your list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s