This past semester, I was handed a journal that had traveled through many hands. It was an experimental journal that someone started and handed off to a friend, who in turn handed it off to another person. This continued until the pages were filled with the stories of a variety of people. Each person who received it contributed something, be it a poem, a reflection on life, a picture or whatever was in his or her heart to share.
Included in the journal were instructions so that, eventually, it will come back to the hands of its creator and the entries will be compiled and posted online. Intrigued by its contents and inspired by its purpose, I rose to the occasion. Here is what I wrote late one night.
Hearing the Sound
It’s nearly 2 a.m., and I am restless. This journal has been sitting on my desk for most of the week, quite literally brushed aside in the clutter of my everyday life. But every time I have looked at it, I have known deep inside that I needed to write in it, so here goes. This is my heart.
I was playing cards with my friends tonight, and a television was on in the background. A commercial for “Feed the Children” came on, and my attention was almost immediately captured by a sound in it. A baby was crying.
But it wasn’t a normal cry. It was a cry of desperation, of fear, of pain, of longing. The cry of a child can speak volumes if you truly listen. You may call it a woman’s intuition, but I beg to differ.
I felt, at that moment, that the heart of God was so clear to me. A righteous indignation, coupled with heartbreaking compassion, welled up in me.
“Why don’t they help the child instead of videotaping it!” I said, feeling my face flush. “Hold the child! Don’t just let it lay there alone in the bed and cry!” (Please don’t misunderstand. I spoke not out of condemnation toward Feed the Children. They are a wonderful organization that helps countless families and children. I spoke out of desperation to help those who are hurting and lost.)
It made me want to get on a plane and go to Africa or some third world country and just hold someone and speak God’s peace and love to them—if only through my actions.
Over and over, I heard children’s cries coming from that television. But they weren’t just coming from there, they were coming from everywhere, all around me. Their cries resounded deep inside of me, and God repeated something to me that He spoke to me last spring.
“Let the sound break your heart, Rachel, because it breaks Mine, too.”
I was overwhelmed, almost to tears. It all happened so quickly that my friends scarcely took notice until I got up and turned off the TV.
It wasn’t that I didn’t care. It was that I cared too much. I could barely stand it. I don’t fully grasp this reaction, but I trust that you who read this may understand, if only in part.
I’m sure this would be a more than appropriate part of my contributing entry to close things off with a call to action, a heartfelt prayer or a compelling question to ponder, but I feel like the best thing to do is to let this entry itself generate your own thoughts, prayers and questions. I pray that God uses it to reveal His heart to you.
I am not the one who will tell you what to think, what action to take, how to pray or where to go. Only God can set that in motion. All I know is that the sound I heard will never leave me and never cease to compel me to search God’s heart and to go where He sends me.
Love in Christ (and I truly mean this)