She was just standing there in the field, loosely holding the rope attached to her one bull. She still had on her silky pajama top over her new pink sarong. She ominously faced the west, the direction of the setting sun, despite that fact it was early morning. The sun is setting on her existence as she knows it.
A few weeks ago, her neighbors sold their land beside her rice fields to a sand company. Then, the village chief signed off for the company, who paid him a bribe, to dig out the sand and ship it to the capital for construction. Her fields are going to slowly sink. This is her last year to grow rice unless she commits to filling in the holes with dirt repeatedly at a high cost each year. Profit will be a thing of the past for this family.
We see it here in Cambodia all the time, the effects of one person's selfishness on the community. The mountains in the distance are slowly vanishing, enormous loads of rock trucked away for construction. Everyone on the road in our nearby town has to re-build their homes because the government decided to break its commitment to them and expand the road further than planned. The police side with whoever pays the most, and the firefighters will not turn on their hoses until payment is made.
This kind of selfishness is soul deep permeating human-kind, and it's complicated.
The villagers who sold the land to the company are shamed by their infertility and alcoholism. They just need more money whatever the affect on others. The village chief learned survival of the fittest in the killing fields of Cambodia's genocide. Why should he care?
My heart screams against the injustice, and yet this same selfishness resides in my heart. I often believe the lie that my little, selfish acts do no one harm or at least not as much harm as our village chief . . .
My children have holes in their hearts from my sins against them. They are deep and wide. Even at their tender young ages, I see them trying to refill their holes with "dirt" that will only be washed away in time.
Oh, how I worry about those holes when I allow myself the full weight of my true responsibility. Sure, I have been busy facing down depression and moving to a village and . . . it's complicated. But still, there are holes, and filling them in with whatever this world has to offer won't work.
When I told my husband about the bulldozers and the land and the holes, he paused and stated, "It is going to take something drastic and costly upfront to save the land."
The cross flashed through my mind.
The image of the Lord Jesus filling the holes I have made in my children's hearts has become dear to me even as the trucks filled with land continue to come and go down the village road. We may live in an unjust world, but we are loved with a unique and merciful kind of justice (Matthew 5:45). He will fill each and every one of our holes, and He will fill the holes in the hearts of those we've sinned against. Praise God!
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:3