I don't ever want to be beyond being shaken. I don't want to get so used to hearing about the hardships of the poor that when I hear of someone suffering, it doesn't grip my heart. I may appear a fool, mentally ill, or just "losing it", but I want to FEEL what others feel. I want to cry out to God for their needs. I want to be able to cry, without restraining myself for propriety's sake. I want to live in that freedom to be who I am.
If I don't allow myself to bleed for others, then I'm not really alive. I honestly believe that.
Just moments ago I finished reading the book, "Too Small to Ignore", written by Dr. Wess Stafford of Compassion International. That's the renown organization that recruits sponsors for needy children around the world. I sat on the floor in my kitchen to finish up the last two pages because I wanted to seriously listen to what God might be trying to say to me. I thought I might be involved in a “holy moment”, where it might be appropriate to take off my shoes or something!
You see, my husband and I have agreed that the path of our lives together might lead us into the mission field. So I'm keeping my eyes open as things (like this book) come my way. I don't want to miss on some little clue as to what our next steps might be.
The final pages of the book was the author's call to not forget the importance of children. Jesus would like that! Dr. Stafford even reveals moments when he's wept in public, so distraught in his heartache for young ones. Just as our Lord reacted strongly to His disciples standing in the way of children coming to Him, I want to feel it that strongly. What could be more "unjust" than that, anyway?
I've been on two mission trips to Zambia, Africa, and one to northern India. I've played with, interviewed, and given food to orphaned children and seen their desperation. I've also seen some of their faces gleam with pride when I noticed and remarked on their achievements. I'm not too old to remember how important it was to be noticed like that when I was a child. That's a strong enough statement right there. An adult's attention can make all the difference in the world!
Does it seem like such a small thing - to give some money to an organization to target ONE child? It shouldn't, should it! Maybe I would have been that ONE child! And what about that one little child that annoys you, coming too close when you don't want to be bothered? Maybe her nose is runny or her hands dirty. Maybe she just doesn't know her boundaries (this was true of most of the foster children I cared for).
Well, now imagine that child is your own mother, only a generation ago. Would you want someone to notice her? to speak kindly to her? to listen to her? to put her shoes on for her? to share a sandwich with her? I sure would! That little girl is going to grow up to take care of someone really important to me - ME!
Look into a child's eyes today, and let that one know how important she is. God made every hair on her head, and her fingerprint is His one-of-a-kind work of art! She is precious. Then, maybe the next thing to do is to offer support to an organization like Compassion International, to lift the eyes of another small child far away - that needs to know she's important to God and to someone in your country! Become her biggest fan! Write to her and encourage, encourage, encourage. Doing this will put jewels in your crown! (I don't think that's scriptural, but you know what I mean!)
Let's demonstrate this kind of compassion to our children, so they can also feel the heartbeat of God. Help them save their coins to help another child. Tell them stories about children who come from more difficult circumstances than their own. Maybe a newspaper story might touch their mind - some child who needs their prayers. What a valuable gift to give your child!
And if you know of any foster or adopt families, congratulate them! They're working to mend the brokenhearted. No matter how young a child is when separated from their birth family, there's a trauma there that cannot heal without special handling. Pray for them. Cry with them, stand by them. Honor them. They aren't any more special than your family - just another part of the larger family of God. You need them and they need you...
When Jesus said, "of such is the kingdom of heaven", he meant that people that were "like children" were the ones who would populate heaven. We have much to learn from children, don't we!