Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Where is God when it hurts?

In 'What Good is God?' Philip Yancey writes, "Where is God when it hurts?" He answer his own question, "Where God's people are. Where misery is, there is the Messiah, and now on earth the Messiah takes form in the shape of the church."

When Jesus heard of the murder of his friend and cousin John the Baptist by Herod, he did not lead a demonstration to Herod's palace as I would have done. He withdrew to a solitary place and mourned quietly, but only for a short while before a hurting world came calling and he got back to his core business of healing the sick and feeding the hungry.

I thought about that last week as the ICC trials began. A deep sadness came over me as I remembered the old woman who knelt praying at Kiambaa church on New Years Day in 2008 and the young man pulled out of a moving Matatu in Naivasha and stoned to death because he was from the wrong tribe. Like Jesus, I mourned quietly for my country, especially when I considered how far we have come in lying to ourselves that post-election violence was just a figment of our imagination.

Then I went to church on Sunday and heard an update about Joyce Cheruiyot. Do you remember her? She is the PEV victim whose picture has been circulating on facebook lately. (You can read her story on this link:

Joyce's face was badly burned during post-election violence. So burned that she found it difficult to close her eyes and to eat and speak because both her eye lids and lips had virtually been destroyed by the fire.

Well, a few weeks ago, our church held a fundraiser for Joyce to enable her to get plastic surgery to restore a semblance of normality to her facial functions and enable her to close her eyes and to speak and eat properly. And on Sunday, we had a second collection to enable her to provide for her family.

I remembered that in the immediate wake of post-election violence, our church took over the Jamhuri Park show ground and for weeks prepared meals for the IDPs that had streamed in from Kibera and other informal settlements fleeing the violence. We also took almost 200 children who had been evicted from the Rift Valley and who were standard 8 candidates. We rented a boarding school, employed teachers, provided all their needs and made sure that they were able to sit their exams at the end of that year despite the disruption wrought upon their young lives by PEV.

The church in Kenya has been much maligned by the wolves in sheep's clothing, those criminals who call themselves pastors who fleece the poor in the name of Christianity. But the real church of Jesus Christ is alive and well and continues to breathe life to dead situations, far from the madding crowd.

Where is God when it hurts? Where God's people are.