When the world hears it is too late.
By then the people are already displaced, the war has broken out, the die has been cast for the suffering to come. We have no trouble hearing gunshots and bombs, the roar of tanks across the planes and the desperate cries of those who run for safety but cannot find what they are looking for because it doesn’t exist. They’re looking for ghosts, for mirages of hope that were silently extinguished, long before, decades before.
I hear the cries of the Ethiopian people huddled in refugee camps, waiting for what they know comes next, for what always comes next. The people flee -- the women and the children -- into the arms of those who cannot care for them, those who can only use them to get a little more of what they want, money, power, leverage, something.
And we’re asked on the other side of the world, don’t you hear? Do you not have ears?
Adam chomps the apple and I hear it. I hear him chomping across the centuries that tell the same story over and over again. Jonah is thrown overboard, and I hear the whale coming from the deep. The bag of coins rattles in the purse of Judas, and I hear that too.
But never once did I hear the whisper that led to the war. The first sound. The sound that took place inside the heart of man, only his steps, but not what led to his steps.
Never once did I hear the devil come in the night and whisper into the ears of men. See what they have done, see how the world would be better without them, see what they have done to you and your people, it is you or them, it is always you or them. Only one of you will survive and you have a weapon do you not? Don’t you see how the world has been unfair to you? Shouldn’t you make things right?
No one hears the once-promising king turn his eyes to the woman bathing on the roof, they only hear the armies of Absalom coming upon the city.
When the world hears it’s too late. Because a corrupted heart and mind cannot be heard until it overflows, until it comes like a flood, until we are treading water and looking for something to hold.
Let it be your hand, O God.
Let it be your hand we find to rip us from the void we have created.