Yesterday afternoon my little family gathered around the TV to watch Bono on Oprah. They were launching the RED line of products, a percentage of the proceeds from which will go to provide anti-retroviral drugs in Africa. It's a very cool idea. People here in the States love to shop. Now they can shop and help others at the same time.
But I had a weird reaction to the whole thing. I'm still struggling with what it is that I'm feeling.
Normally I feel very encouraged that Bono and others are championing the desperate needs in Africa. It feels like finally we have the Big Guns involved. It feels like all the little people on the ground who are doing the day to day work of actually trying to make a difference there finally have massive re-enforcements as Bono gets the world's attention about what is really going in that place.
Yet somehow watching the show yesterday just made me wonder what good it is for our wee family to return to Africa and join the effort to make a lasting change in people's lives there. I kept thinking about our smallness. Shoot! Africa has Bono and Oprah and Alicia Keyes! Even Madonna is stepping up to the plate and adopting an African child.
It's weird because I know that we are doing the right thing. We are responding to the need: 40 million AIDS orphans in Africa by 2010, close to the same number of kids going to school in the public school system of the United States! We are convicted that our gifting and our passions are right for this call. God has given us a network of relationships across Africa that we can jump straight into. And a lot of the people most precious to our family are Africans that live in far away villages where my little boys grew into young men.
So why does the sight of Superstars saving Africa leave me despondent?
In my logical mind, I know that the combination of little people on the ground and BIG PEOPLE in powerful places is the perfect team to bring needed change in Africa.
And I think my response may just come down to this: discouragement is the enemy's favorite weapon.
What a clever tactic! Take something good (Superstars getting involved) and twist it in Lisa's head into a discouraging thing. In my weak and easily intimidated state (a place I've been in recently) their SUPER EFFORTS make me feel that my efforts are inconsequential.
I don't think this is the conclusion God is intending for me.