Three years ago an eye doctor named Tom Little was killed in a massacre of 10 international aid workers in Nuristan province in the country of Afghanistan. The story made international headlines as the largest massacre of aid workers at the time of the entire Afghan conflict, causing complete strangers to the country and the people massacred to pause and take an inventory of their lives.
Tom Little had been in Afghanistan for over 33 years. He was from Albany, New York, son of an eye doctor and he loved Afghanistan; loved the Afghan people. To say that Tom Little lived outside of any box is a serious understatement. A film called The Hard Places is being produced on the life of Tom Little. In an interview about the film, Dan Swinton, the producer, said that all the news stories of the massacre focused on the last 5 minutes of his life. He wanted to find out more about the other 33 years.
I’ve watched the trailer for the film The Hard Places five or six times — and every time I cry. The film challenges my comfort, my security, most of all challenges me to live life fully wherever I am called to go.
Now this is a hard call in my current situation. I make no secret of the fact that my government sponsored cubicle is often a hard place to be. I feel underused and unproductive. I often question whether I’m making a difference.
My government sponsored cubicle is not sexy. It is not a place where the type of headlines that mean something to eternity emerge. It is a place that tests my patience, challenges my creativity, and often defeats my spirit.
But it is currently my reality. It is where God has placed me. And the call to live fully is no less applicable to me as it is to those in far harder places, far more difficult situations. I am weak in this context – and God delights to make the weak strong.
In the trailer, Libby Little, Tom Little’s wife who was by his side throughout their years in Afghanistan, is heard reading a poem by Hannah Hurnard:
O blessed are the patient meek
Who quietly suffer wrong;
How glorious are the foolish weak
By God made greatly strong;
So strong they take the conqueror’s crown,
And turn the whole world upside down.
The world is not changed through one momentous event, it is changed through the often boring, simple acts of obedience that I am daily called to. Arguably, Tom Little’s life did not affect the Afghan people through his last 5 minutes of a martyr’s death, it affected the Afghan people in his daily choice to deliver excellent eye care to people in need.
It is in the strength of God as shown through the weakness of men that the world is turned upside down. So it is today that I am called to be obedient to what I know. No more and no less, trusting the outcome to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
What about you? Do you long to turn the whole world upside down but can’t even face a Monday morning?
Blogger’s note: I encourage you to watch this trailer – just be warned that it changes you. For more on the film or to support the project click here.
Monday is always better with Muffins! In Stacy’s words, todays muffins are “chalk full of nuts and flavor!” They are Browned Butter Pecan Muffins. Enjoy!