No Longer Distant

A message arrived in my inbox tonight from Samaritan’s Purse. The message talked about an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. The virus has been raging for six weeks, and has moved into neighboring countries. I don’t have television and while I try at least to notice headlines online, I’ve been out of the loop the past few weeks. So this headline in my inbox caught my attention.

First of all, Ebola … a horrible word, a deadly disease. I wish we would not have such deadly viruses in this world. I confess that my second reaction was fear. In our interconnected globe, nothing is contained in just one part of the world. We’re all at risk.

What hit me hardest, though, was seeing a map highlighting the center of this plague. See, I know someone who lives in West Africa. A little girl I’ve gotten to know about and have been praying for. While she’s farther inland in Burkina Faso, she’s not that far away from the outbreak. Much too close for comfort.

It’s horrible to read about a disaster anywhere in the world. We may not know the people, but we can feel the horror. But there’s something about knowing someone personally. It brings the world closer, makes the crisis hit harder in our hearts. No longer distant. Too real. Too close. Our loved ones – God’s children – are affected, and it matters.

It should always matter, whether or not we know someone in the midst of the crisis. There’s something about personal connections that brings this home.