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Archive for January, 2011

A starving little girl, trying to make her way to an emergency feeding station, collapses. Photographer Kevin Carter, waiting for his military transport plane to take him away from this awful place, hears “the sound of soft, high-pitched whimpering” as he is taking a look around. He discovers the source of the noises when he happens upon this scene, right as a vulture lands and waits for the inevitable. Kevin takes this photograph that brings the suffering in the (formerly unheard of) “Sudan” to the world’s attention, and wins him the Pulitzer Prize for photography in 1994.

I woke early this morning and lay on the couch letting my mind wander where ever it would. As has often been the case these days, I began thinking and praying for all the orphaned and suffering children of the world; allowing the sorrow in the heart of God to wash over my own. The famous photo of this desperate little girl came into my mind and wouldn’t leave. I pulled it up on the internet and allowed the power of the pain and suffering to impact my heart and aid my intercession.

In looking up the photo I also discovered the name of the photographer (Kevin Carter), and the ultimate fate of the Sudanese girl (unknown). Lastly, I saw that Kevin Carter was a member of an unfortunate fraternity of photographers famous for their extensive work in photographing such suffering and devastation, and that it eventually overwhelmed him. Kevin killed himself only months after winning the Pulitzer, the highest accolade in his profession.

“My first instinct was to make the picture….I felt completely devastated”

“I am depressed … I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain … of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners…I have gone to join Ken [recently deceased colleague Ken Oosterbroek] if I am that lucky.”  – Kevin Carter

As I prayed in the darkness of the early morning, images such as these broke my heart once again for the lost and suffering, the 147 million orphans in the earth with little or no hope. The weight of the pain is heavy even on me who has only seen photos. I can’t image the weight on the heart of Kevin who was witness to even far worse evil and suffering and who had no outlet for his anguish; no ultimate justice to hope for in the form of a righteous God who will one day call every evil to account. Moreover, I can only imagine the pain in the heart of a Father God, perfect in love for all these His suffering children, feeling every pang of their torment.

It is in these moments that a deep and godly sorrow comes over me. I have an abiding fear in my heart that in a few short years, when I stand before Jesus, He will not even need to say a thing. As I look in His eyes my mind will flood with all these images of destruction and suffering, knowing I did precious little to come to the aid of His children that He loves with a terrifying passion and jealousy. I fear having lived a life where I toiled, begged, borrowed, and stole so I could gain more consumer electronics, better vacations, and a more comfortable life, while every day all over the world the vultures fed themselves from the corpses of the children of God.

God, save me from that fate.

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh…

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.” Luke 6:20-25

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