Mike Cope's blog

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

There is a very important meeting that Colin Powell is involved in today. And we hear very little about it because we're fascinated with stories like the Laci Peterson case. (Is there any defensible rationale for why a case like that gets so much attention--as tragic as it is?) This tragedy that approaches the devastation in Rwanda from a decade ago doesn't receive much press, we're told, because it isn't in our "national interest." But to go with our national interest, don't we also have national values? Darfur, an area of Western Sudan near the Chad border, is described by the U.N. as the #1 humanitarian crisis in the world today. Something very close to a genocide is being carried out with the endorsement of the Sudanese government. Pro-government Arab militias have been raping and slaughtering black Africans--a kind of ethnic cleansing. Thousands have been raped and murdered, a million have been displaced, and more than 120,000 have been forced across the border into Chad to live in refugee camps. The U.S. Agency for International Development has estimated that at least 300,000 more will die of hunger this year. Please join me in prayer today about that meeting. Something tough needs to emerge from the U.N. Security council. But way beyond that, let's pray for the kingdom of God to continue to break forth in troubled places.


  • Amen, bro.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 6/30/2004 07:32:00 AM  

  • "We declare that Kingdom of God is here!"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/30/2004 07:34:00 AM  

  • Thanks for making me take my head out of the sand. Whether or not this is "national interest" we know that they are our "neighbors" as Christians. My prayers will be with these people today

    By Blogger DJG, at 6/30/2004 08:32:00 AM  

  • "There he broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war. (Selah)
    But you indeed are awesome! Who can stand before you when once your anger is roused? From the heavens you uttered judgment; the earth feared and was still when God rose up to establish judgment, to save all the oppressed of the earth. (Selah)"

    Psalm 76:3, 7-9

    By Blogger Q, at 6/30/2004 08:34:00 AM  

  • Pray without ceasing on this and other world issues.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/30/2004 08:41:00 AM  

  • I understand that God is not slow as man counts slowness, but is patient and longsuffering not willing that any should be lost...

    ... but I still have to wonder, "How long, Oh lord?"

    I know it's the sin of man, but sometimes it looks like God hiding his face.

    By Blogger Q, at 6/30/2004 09:28:00 AM  

  • Q - You're right. When we place our trust in a God who seems at time to have hidden his face, then we enter into the deepest chambers of mystery and trust in scripture. Some people I know are "a miracle a minute" people who are always amazed at the thousands of miracles they see answered every day. I remain amazed that God, who has all love and all power, does not stop this kind of genocide (that I've written about today).

    "Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
    though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
    though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
    yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior."
    (Hab. 3:17-18)

    By Blogger Mike, at 6/30/2004 11:26:00 AM  

  • The whole Continent seems at times, to be in turmoil. Ivory Coast, Guinea W. Africa, Liberia, Ghana, have been forcing refugees across their borders due to the latest diamond war. According to missionary friends, the Bosnia, Kosovo area is heating up again. As long as this earth groans from the infection of sin; as long as the Spirit speaks in groans for us before the Throne of Grace because of our contamination by that same virus, sin; as long as our spirit has to cry out "how long, O, LORD" - these inhumanities to man will continue.

    Not only are my prayers for these areas, but also for so many other war zones, including some of our city streets; also prayers for missionaries that bravely place themselves in harm's way to bring the joyous news of the Kingdom - for truly, the ONLY way we know that can bring hope to those hurting, while changing lives and hearts, is through the great message of the gospel - "...God's power unto salvation..."

    I pray we all reach down deep to help support those that go out to these areas and others, that we partner with our missionaries in prayer for their host countries.

    It breaks my heart, but the truth of the matter is that the Sudan is this moment's reminder of the millions that still do not know the LORD Jesus and His salvation. "...the harvest is plenty, but the workmen are few..." - said over 2000 years ago, just as applicable today.

    After all that rambling, Mike, Yes! I join with you in prayer for Sudan and for other lost areas of God's world.

    By Blogger Kathy, at 6/30/2004 11:36:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    That's what I can't figure out. Because God has done amazing things in my life -- things that I can't explain and don't deserve. But looking at the pictures of these women, knowing what they've been through and how much more is yet to come -- it's just hard to reconcile. I'm not any more "deserving" than any of them are, yet my life has been filled with blessings, everyday miracles and otherwise.

    We're all children of God. God is no respector of people. And yet it's still all so uneven.

    I know, too, that God gave us breath, gave us life and provided a way back to him and that that alone is more than any of us deserve. But I also know tonight where I'll sleep; so many don't. I don't have to worry about where my next meal is coming from when so many families do. I have time and capability to sit here and write lengthy comments like these when for others there aren't enough hours in the day for them to earn enough to survive. Cancer strikes randomly, but I've got access to medical treatment with world class doctors and medical insurance to offset the cost.

    I think what bothers me is not so much that I think God has turned his face away but that instead he's turned it sideways.

    By Blogger Q, at 6/30/2004 12:54:00 PM  

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    By Blogger SG, at 6/30/2004 01:14:00 PM  

  • To those that much is given, much is expected!

    Q-I am so with you on that last comment girl!

    I often struggle with guilt over the great life I have been given (because I know I still want more)when I see the circumstances of others lives. I also struuggle with understanding Gods silence when horrible things are happening. I think Habakkuk struggled with this too! Before he was rejoicing without a fig, he said this in Chapter 1:12-17

    O LORD , are you not from everlasting?
    My God, my Holy One, we will not die.
    O LORD , you have appointed them to execute judgment;
    O Rock, you have ordained them to punish.
    Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
    you cannot tolerate wrong.
    Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
    Why are you silent while the wicked
    swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
    You have made men like fish in the sea,
    like sea creatures that have no ruler.
    The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks,
    he catches them in his net,
    he gathers them up in his dragnet;
    and so he rejoices and is glad.
    Therefore he sacrifices to his net
    and burns incense to his dragnet,
    for by his net he lives in luxury
    and enjoys the choicest food.
    Is he to keep on emptying his net,
    destroying nations without mercy?

    Sometimes I just feel all I can do is cry out and beg for mercy for those that seem so broken and abused. Afterwards, just waiting in faith when He seems silent and unmoving, believing He is in control... that is the real struggle part of Christianity for me. I'm so glad to know others struggle with that too.

    By Blogger SG, at 6/30/2004 01:26:00 PM  

  • Mike, you quoted one of my very favorite scriptures...Hab 3:17. People look at me like I am crazy when I tell them one of my favorites scriptures is from Hab. I know a song with those scripture words...Though the fig tree may not blossom and there be no fruit on the vine, though the produce of the olive fail and the fields shall yield no fruit, though the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stall...yet will I rejoice in the Lord, yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation, God the Lord is my strength.
    I have loved that song since junior high and it has taken me through many hard times. I don't know if it was one of the scripture songs that Ted Thomas taught me or just one of those camp songs that stuck with me. It is so powerful to sing scripture.

    By Blogger julie, at 6/30/2004 09:19:00 PM  

  • Mr. Cope,

    I wanted to know what your position on instrumental music in worship to God. God Bless your ministry.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/01/2004 12:16:00 AM  

  • I will definitely pray.

    By Blogger lawtondickerson, at 7/01/2004 06:47:00 AM  

  • I guess the question I struggle with is the same one Philip Yancey and Dr. Brand addressed: the problem of pleasure -- particularly in a world of pain.

    I don't struggle so much with guilt for the ways I've been blessed. I'm exceedingly thankful for them. My life hasn't been a study in simplicity or "peace" in the traditional sense. But for all the scrapes and falls and all times I'd have given up, God has been there for me -- even when I wasn't sure I wanted him around. I just wanted to see more clearly the way God has worked in their lives to bring good from bad because I've seen it so well in my own life in so many things.

    But I realized my mistake while I was praying about this yesterday and last night. I assume that God hasn't blessed these people, worked in their lives and that he hasn't (or won't?) use even this for his glory. I made God too small.

    I know these things will continue just in the same way that I'll continue to mess up, to sin and to defile the things God makes holy. We've all got high-handed sins and they all hurt both us and others -- and if God is no respector of persons, I have to believe he's no respector of sins, either. They're all missing the mark; they *all* separate us from him.

    If God can use my life, my sins and the sins against me for his glory, he can use this. He didn't cause it and I don't think he's apathetic toward it. But he doesn't stop it any more than he stops me from my sin; I alone am responsible for the ones I hurt. As are they.

    It does seem lopsided to me sometimes, but I'm nearsighted in more ways than one.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/01/2004 07:03:00 AM  

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    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/01/2004 07:21:00 AM  

  • I'm reminded of the old cartoon where the man says "Everytime I'm tempted ask God why he lets people starve and suffer I remember He could ask me the same thing." Not to say that we shouldn't pray for God to pour out His blessing on people in other countries, but we should also see that He already has. The problem isn't in amount it's in distribution. When did we stop being on the cutting edge of social justice? Shouldn't we be inviting Bono to local churches to speak on AIDS in Africa?

    When my dad was 11 or 12 he got in the habit of ending his prayers by saying "and help the orphans and widows, amen." One Saturday morning my grandpa got him up at the crack of dawn. When my dad whined about what they were doing up so early, my grandpa responded "we're going to help those widows and orphans you keep praying for."

    I will be praying about this and know that God is bigger than my willngness to help or not. But I will also try to remain open to being His answer to my prayer.

    By Blogger chrismith, at 7/01/2004 08:00:00 AM  

  • Hey folks....its been a while since I last posted or commented, but this sounded like a good place. Having spent our time in Rwanda, we are now in Belgium with some missionary friends. As sad as it is, in a few days here I have already taken more pictures than I did in our entire time in Rwanda. It just didn't feel right to pull out my digital camera, which cost more than the average family income there, and start snapping away. It's doubly weird going from that place to this, the home of the "root cause" of most of the problems in Rwanda. The contrast between here and there is like night and day.

    So, these questions people have been asking are not ones to be easily settled. I'm not sure we can even answer them, except to do as some have suggested: follow Habakkuk's pattern and praise God in spite of the things we see, and secondly, to get off our collective rumps and do something about it. God's call is not just for our money and our prayers. He doesn't want us just to support a few select people as "our missionaries" he wants US out there being his hands and feet and voice.

    By Blogger Greg Kendall-Ball, at 7/01/2004 08:47:00 AM  

  • Greg - Glad to hear from you again. I've been praying for you. Hope you and Sara will share something with Highland about what you saw and learned in Rwanda.

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/01/2004 09:00:00 AM  

  • Greg,

    Good to know you haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I'll be interested to hear (read) about more of your experiences.


    By Blogger Q, at 7/01/2004 09:51:00 AM  

  • Chris,

    You had one smart grandpa.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/01/2004 01:42:00 PM  

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    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/01/2004 01:47:00 PM  

  • Mike, so what is your answer to what is happening in Darfur? This administration has gutted the United Nations’ ability to act and created an enormous amount of discord with our allies. They have also overextended our military in way unimaginable just a couple of years ago.

    If we had been strengthening the United Nations in the post-9-11 era, we would be in a position to act immediately. There are several African countries that have offered United Nations peacekeeping troops. Liberia is a great example of where United Nations sponsored troops made a tremendous difference. If we spent one/hundredth of what we have spent in Iraq to train and equip African peacekeeping troops, pressuring Sudan would become infinitely easier.

    In the case of Sudan, it isn’t new news. If this administration hadn’t dragged its feet over the last year being preoccupied elsewhere, this could have been prevented.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 8/02/2004 04:38:00 PM  

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