Tuesday, September 22, 2009

compassion.



"Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this
if you learn all the right words but never do anything?
Does merely talking about faith
indicate that a person really has it?
For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags
and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend!
Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!"
and walk off without providing so much as
a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you?
Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts
is outrageous nonsense?"
James 2:14-17 (The Message)

as we have walked through a series on faith and the book of James the last few weeks, the Lord has taught me innumerable truths through His word and this series. i could write in a thousand different directions, but there is just one word flowing from my heart - and from my fingers: compassion.

the images. the statistics. a debilitating combination that paralyzes our hearts with discouragement and helplessness. my heart aches with each frame of the video; with each word of the scripture - not only with the ache of compassion - but the agony of Godly sorrow and deep regret for having been paralyzed for far too long; for having lived a life of such greedy materialism; for having given such thought, such care, such inestimable amounts of money to clothe and feed myself so far beyond what was necessary. living year after year of my life lost in lustful worldliness, constantly planning out the next nicers and newers of future seasons: a newer car, a larger home, nicer things, nicer clothes. day after day, wrought with incessant worrying about what i would wear, how i would look, what i would eat. and yet, with each and every one of those days that passed, thirty thousand children died of starvation or preventable disease.

thirty-thousand. children. each day. dying. because they do not have enough food; because they do not have medicine.


our culture prevents us from even flinching. we are too inundated with mass media and football season and fall premiers and fall festivals. the statistics and the images move us to turn away; to close our eyes rather than move towards them and have the eyes of our hearts opened. as the eyes of my own heart were opened by God Himself to this grave, heart-wrenching reality, i thought to myself, "WHAT are we doing?!"... and then i thought, "what am i doing?". and the inescapable truth pierced me: the same thing i have been doing all of my life: absolutely nothing. what could i do. it was more of a statement than a question. but the Lord, in His infinite grace and wisdom, starting molding it into a question. how could i, now a single mother and full time college student with such few resources make a difference - a tangible, measurable, touchable, feel-able difference - in light of such inestimable need.

one that would be answered with the one word that had been pressed on my heart for weeks: compassion; and then followed by another: international.

i could not save thirty thousand children. but through Compassion International, i could make a permanent difference in the life one. forever. while there are a plethora of organizations that help feed and clothe impoverished children, Compassion is impeccable in its reputation and in its radical responsibility for the reputation of Christ. it is not a program designed simply to help impoverished children survive, but to release them from poverty in Jesus' name.

trying to determine what i could sacrifice came easily. i needed thirty-eight dollars cut from somewhere. two sundays ago the waiter handed me the check for a Sunday lunch for our family of four: it was thirty-four dollars. i could sponsor a child for a month with what i had just spent on half-eaten cheese quesidillas and tacos.

deciding which child to sponsor was not as easily determined: chloe and i looked at the website together and as i explained what we were doing, exactly, she exclaims, "oh. i know what that is! compassion [she explains] is when you see someone who needs help and you want to help them!". [thank you, veggietales!] i immediately searched for children her age and who had been waiting the longest. it led us to anthony. an adorable little boy in honduras, who had been waiting longer than six months for a sponsor. he was born just eight weeks before chloe.

one change of my heart that eventually led to one click of the mouse; and ultimately, this one child's life. in just a few years, when Chloe is old enough to travel on a Compassion Sponsor trip, i hope we will have the opportunity to travel to Honduras so that we can meet this child face-to-face, in Jesus' name - not to see what we have done, but what the Lord has done through us. it is my prayer that he may know, that my own children will come to know, what it took me thirty some odd years to learn: apart from Him, we can do nothing. apart from Him, we are nothing. the world and everything in it is fading away and without Him, so are we...

sponsoring this one child is not a means to an end, but to a beginning. i am no longer asking "what can i do", but what He desires to do through me; i am no longer asking how i can spend my resources to help others; but how i can spend my life for His glory.

pray for our anthony and i urge you, pray about sponsoring a child of your own.

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