The past month has been interesting. My flesh would choose other words to describe it: “difficult,” “frustrating,” “heartbreaking.” I’m beginning to realize I don’t have that luxury. I am (in the words of Paul) a bondservant of Christ. Jesus owns me – He bought me with His own life. I can’t complain about … well, anything, really.
I serve as a missionary. It’s where God put me and I’ve gone willingly. Most of the time, joyfully. Then there are months like this past one, where not much funding comes in. In those months, I scrape by and thank God for every single blessing.
What happened at the beginning of this past month was Ash Wednesday. I asked God to help me, during Lent, to feel more of His heart for people who live in poverty. I don’t mean American poverty. I mean places where people fall through the cracks and have no recourse. Granted, that happens in America too. There are people in this country who fall through the cracks and don’t know of any alternative. But at least we have alternatives in this country. We have some way for folks in poverty to get help, to have a voice. The news might not have reached everyone yet, but the resources are here, and there’s a better chance of hearing about it here.
There are places in the world where no such resources exist. Where poverty runs deep and no one has a voice. Places where, if there are a few hands offering support, most folks haven’t heard.
I don’t know that kind of poverty. I never have, and to be honest, I never will, simply because I live in America. No matter how bad things might get, I have been spared that depth of poverty, helplessness, and silence. I have utterly no right, under heaven, to complain about how hard this past month has been.
I have been learning, over the past two years of fundraising, what it’s like to depend on God for everything. In reality, we all depend on God for everything, whether or not we realize it. I’ve gotten a better glimpse of what that means. Even so, I don’t know that utter depth of dependence on God, as those who live in countries where poverty relief is sparse, and almost unknown.
Imagine being that helpless, and not having a voice in this world.
I pray for them, as I eat food graciously given to me. I cry out for them, as I receive medical care donated to me to cure a bladder infection. God hears their cries. They may go unnoticed by much of the world, but they don’t go unnoticed by Him. He is moving hearts, all around the world, to respond to their need. The need of HIS children.
Are we listening? Are we responding?
I admit there have been times when I’ve wondered – is God moving someone’s heart to help me, and what if they don’t hear? My question, for myself, is driven by fear (fear is a sin, by the way). I know God is moving hearts to help me – He has been, for my past two years as a missionary, and all my life, really – and people have heard and responded graciously, generously. It’s why I’m still in ministry. I couldn’t do this without the help of people who God has moved to sow into the ministry where He has placed me.
But that’s for me.
It’s different when I look at His children in countries deep in poverty. When I look at them, and see the way they live, I do wonder – Is God calling us to respond, and do we hear His voice?
We can start with prayer. Prayer is an action, and it opens the way for other actions to follow. Let’s ask God who He would have us pray for, somewhere in the world today, or right here in our own town.
I’m grateful for the ways I’ve had to acknowledge my dependence on God. My circumstances have opened my eyes to see His love and grace in new ways, and to see how His heart moves to take care of His children, everywhere … and how He moves our hearts to join Him in blessing others, and in turn, being blessed to take part.
May God bless you in every way this day.