After listening to the news the past few weeks and feeling discouraged, I wrote in my journal “sometimes being a Christian feels like walking around with a broken heart." My heart hurts for others and for this world, which is in so much pain. I am reminded of how big the problems are and how small I am. Some days my prayers end with a sigh and pleading, “come, Lord Jesus”.
BUT, as believers we know that the pain here is not the end of the story, and we rejoice in that! God has already won the battle! He calls each and every one of us to play our part, to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him as He works in the world around us. Some days I’m still left with the lingering practical question, though, “what can I do?” to help change this hurting world?
Several years ago I heard Fred Luter, the first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention, speak to this issue. Although I can’t quote him exactly, here was his point:
If you want to change the world, change the nation
If you want to change the nation, change the state
If you want to change the state, change the cities,
If you want to change the cities, change the schools,
If you want to change the schools, change the homes.
Starting at home, at work, within our spheres of influence seems like the logical place.
So pause and think with me a bit today:
Who has God put in your path that needs hope?
Where can you intentionally nurture healthy relationships, or offer encouragement someone who needs it today?
What causes has God put specifically on your heart?
Dr. Wes Stafford, former President and CEO of Compassion International, whose career has brought him into contact with countless children, says that he sees every interaction he has with a child as a divine appointment. Have you ever thought about that? Something as simple as smiling at that squirming toddler strapped in a grocery cart (or maybe at the frazzled mom) as a divine appointment? Playing laser tag with a teenager? In his book Too Small to Ignore, Dr. Stafford contends that the time has come for a major paradigm shift in how we think about children. They are too intensely loved by God to be left behind or left to chance. Children belong to all of us and we are compelled to intervene on their behalf. We must invest in children- all around the world. So I challenge you now to think about the children and teenagers God has put in your path. How can you invest in them today?
Dr. Stafford says “He’s learned that “poverty and abuse speak the same language- a message that says “you don’t matter. Give up! Both are completely opposite to the wonderful message of the gospel, which says” you DO matter. You are of immeasurable value. You are deeply loved by God himself.” People of all ages and races need to hear that good news and see if lived out through God’s people- us!
Dr. Kathy Koch, a popular speaker and author on working with children says “love well the children you love” Take a moment and think about that. “LOVE WELL THE CHILDREN YOU LOVE” I think that can be applied to people of any age. Are we loving those around us WELL? What does that look like for you?
If we did truly love others well, what difference would it make- in homes? in schools? in cities? in states, in nations? in the world? Until the time Jesus returns, I pray that he will use me to change the world by loving him and loving others of every age around me well.
I wrote these words a few weeks ago, and shared them in our service on May 8th. Maybe not your typical encouraging Mother's Day devotion, but it was what God put on my heart. I needed to go back and re-read these words today. I saw another article this morning that tore me up inside, you can find it here, http://www.aholyexperience.com/2015/05/into-iraq about the situation in Iraq. Tears were streaming down my face as I read. As a mother of two girls.... it's hard to put words to the horror. And yet there is HOPE. I'm asking God today to use me to love others however I can. Let's wage LOVE. Let's LOVE WELL!