About thirteen years ago, Becca, a young woman from our church, journeyed to India to work with the “untouchables”…
She wrote me this letter describing an incident in which she was emptied. She describes walking through the slums in Hyderabad in shock over the despair and the suffering (particularly of one young girl—Kavitha; Kavitha is an Indian word that means poem).
“Turning onto the street we could see a crowd had formed. As we approached, the crowd separated… There on the ground lay a 4-year-old child. Flies swarmed her body so that even bending over her I could not see her clearly. The only movements I notice…are her pupils looking deep into my face. Too weak to lift her head… she can barely open her eyes because of the swelling….a tear runs down her face.In slow motion, I gingerly place my hands under her shoulders and legs and slide my body beneath her. No, she has not been burned; she has been severely beaten.
Her nose is flattened, one eye is clouded over with blood, she has razor cuts across her cheeks, her lips are split open and pus oozes from her mouth… and …both ears, the left ear almost totally deformed from cuts… I sat there, on the ground with her in my lap. People thicker than the flies pressed in on us as we clung to each other. Slowly we heard her story from the neighbors. Her mother beat her and does so often. She is locked in a room, sometimes days at a time without food or water, her neck tied to a ceiling fan with rope so that if she sits or falls asleep she is choked awake.
When her mother comes home she is often drunk and that’s when the horror begins. Her bottom is disfigured with burns… Her nose was disfigured last week after her mother stuffed scissors up her nose and cut the cartilage. Cigarette burns covered the back of her neck, legs, and arms. The neighbors finally called the police today because the child was screaming so much. The mother’s beating had already killed her sister. The police took the mother into the station and now neighbors came to see if the child would die.
Once inside the rickshaw, Kavitha leaned against me and fell asleep. She woke once and asked…if Auntie was going to keep her and love her. I bathed her and bandaged her wounds. We fed her and started medicine: de-worming, antibiotics, and painkillers.
The OM leader was called and told us to bring her back to the slum. Kavitha clung to my neck and begged not to go. In her Telugu language, she said, ‘My mommy will kill me if I go back. Please let me stay with Auntie…’ Despair and hopelessness strangled my heart as we entered the rickshaw to bring her back to the slum.”
(And that’s what Becca did. She had no choice, no control. She could not save her.)
“I close my eyes and immediately I am back standing in the street looking at Kavitha lying beaten on the stoop. Just that morning I prayed that Christ would empty me of myself and fill me with Him. ‘Please Father,’ I had said, ‘…. Remove me and all that is within me that stands in the way of You being revealed….’
As I stand there in my mind, I am alone. The metal and cardboard shacks staring at me, and I scream,’Why me? Why am I here? What good can come from this?’ And as tears well up in my eyes, I hear a voice, His voice. ‘You are not alone. I am here. I am in you. I am filling you…’
Stories like that can feel like too much to bear.
We want someone to tell us the suffering has stopped, and we just don’t know. We don’t know if Kavitha’s suffering has stopped. But we do know this world is filled with millions of little girls just like Kavitha—and their suffering has not stopped.
We all want emotional help with those kinds of stories. We want to understand, to comprehend. We wonder as Becca wondered: ‘What good can come from this?’ But that’s the way all suffering is, isn’t it? That’s kind of what makes it suffering; we can’t fully understand. But we can feel. Maybe we want to understand, so we don’t have to feel. We want a little logic to protect us from a Logic that we can’t comprehend.
Think about this: As you read that story, didn’t you stop thinking about yourself—for just a moment?
Maybe we want emotional help with that story because we want to stop thinking about Kavitha so we can once again think about ourselves, feel for ourselves, and get on with our own lives.
Now, believe me… I’m one of those people! But isn’t it weird? Somewhere along the line, we got the idea that the Church’s job is to teach disciples how to not suffer and how to avoid tribulation, but Jesus said, ‘To be my disciple you must pick up a cross,’ and ‘In this world, you will have tribulation.'”
Sometimes the Church seems almost anti-Christ:
We’ll teach folks how to not suffer, when, Jesus came to teach us how to suffer…with Him. We’ll teach folks, “We are salvation, rather than, “God is Salvation-Yashua.” We’ll teach folks, “We’ll save you from the ‘Passion of Christ.’ ”
Paul wrote, “We are children of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified with Him. We are children of God and fellow heirs with Christ provided we suffer His passion with Him—the passion of the Theo-Logos, The God Word, The Word of God-Jesus.
See? the Theo-Logos is hard on my psycho-logos. Those powerful emotions disrupt my orderly world.
In Ephesians, Paul wrote: “Now, this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are cut off alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous…” —Ephesians 4:17-19a (ESV)
Paul is writing to the Gentiles, and He says, “Do not walk as the Gentiles.” He sees these Gentiles, no longer as Gentiles.
Why? Because they’ve been grafted into Christ’s Body.
“Don’t walk as the Gentiles,” cut off from the life of God, darkened in your understanding, in the futility of your minds.” In other words, we are all insane (we have psycho logic) until we are grafted into the Body and functioning…as a Body part.
So, “What’s the cure for our insanity?”
“What’s the cure for our lack of love?”
Paul wrote, “They are insane due to their hardness of heart.” So, I think the cure for insanity must be a broken heart—but not just broken for its own sake. We think our purpose in this world is to stop the weeping, but it’s to learn to weep with those who weep.
We think our purpose is to avoid the cross, but it’s to come to the cross and learn to die for Love. It’s to be emptied of our “psycho-logos (a logos imprisoned in our own selfish psyche) and be filled with “Theo-Logos”—God’s Logos—Jesus, risen from the dead, the very life of God, flowing from one member to the next member like a river of blood through open vessels in a living and beating heart.
Jesus said, “If you lose your psyche (your life) for my sake and the kingdom, you’ll find it.”
Now that’s insane if you’re trapped in your psycho-logos. But it makes perfect sense if you’re part of the Body of Christ—filled with Theo-Logos. It’s Theo-Logic–God’s Logic– It’s the Logic of Love; it’s Jesus. “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”
Now, take a moment to read the rest of what Becca wrote:
“Just that morning I prayed that Christ would empty me of myself and fill me with Him. As I stand there in my mind, I am alone. The metal and cardboard shacks staring at me, and I scream, ‘Why me? Why am I here, what good can come from this?'”
She must’ve felt like she was going insane…
“And as tears well up in my eyes, I hear a voice, His voice. ‘You are not alone. I am here. I am in you. I am filling you. I am feeling the same anger and sadness you are feeling. As your fingers reach for her they become My fingers. And as she sits on your lap it becomes My lap. And not only that, but I am in Kavitha. And I am her. I have been with her every day tied to the ceiling fan; even now I feel pain in my hands, on my face, on my back. It is my eyes that you are looking into, my body that you are so gently hugging.’
‘And even more, I am with her mother, for I have come to love the sinner, the prostitute, tax collector, and child abuser.’ ‘What?’ I cry. ‘You are here in the horror, You feel Kavitha’s pain and my pain, how can you possibly. . . . ?’
‘Yes, my love reaches that far. And just as I fill you, I dream of filling her, for I feel her pain, too.’
Then I responded, ‘But I can’t! I can’t go to her. I hate her.’
Yet even as these words pour from my mouth I know the Truth. And He says, ‘Then let Me.’
And He fills me. And He fills you. And He longs to fill. . .”
Becca was not going insane, she was going sane: She was losing her “psyche” and gaining God’s “psyche.” She was being emptied of herself and filled with a The Life of God, The Passion of the Christ.
I hope you see: “Jesus really has descended into the lower parts of the earth,” like Paul writes, “In order that He might fill all things,” ALL things!
Becca went to India and was saved from insanity and death by the passion of the Christ.
But you don’t have to go to India; God has provided you with neighbors in whom He suffers, right where you are. Weep with those that God puts in your path.
The cure for despair, insanity, and death is not to eliminate all suffering. Rather, it is to share in another’s suffering, which is Christ’s suffering. It will change your psychology into theology. It will change you into a functioning part of the Body of Christ.
Now I don’t know exactly what happened to Kavitha, and yet I know the End of her story. Kavitha is a poem and Jesus is the End. “For this is the plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him.” And on that day, He will wipe away all the tears, the mourning will turn into dancing, the sorrow will turn into joy and laughter. But we’ll never stop bleeding, the river of life will never stop. It will flow from one member to the next unimpaired and through clean and open vessels.
We’ll never stop bleeding, but it will no longer feel like death; we’ll know it for what it truly is Life—Eternal Life!
This devotional was prepared by Kimberly Weynen, Peter Hiett’s assistant. It is primarily a compilation of excerpts from Peter’s sermon titled “The Cure for Insanity.” To read, watch or listen to the sermon in its entirety click here: The Cure For Insanity
*For discussion questions click here: 3.3.2013_Discussion Questions