Friday, June 10, 2011

Hope is calling...

I've struggled these last few days with how to wind up the blogger's trip to the Philippines. The post I knew I'd read, I lost and couldn't seem to find, and nothing else seemed "right."

I found it just now.

To all of you who actually read these posts, I want to make sure you know something.

These trips and pictures and stories are not about pity. They're not about being grateful for what you have, either--that's just a side effect. They're also not about money, for there are plenty of opportunities surrounding you, wherever you live, to minister to people there without affecting your budget in the slightest.

No, to me, these blogging trips are all about hope.

I think Tsh's post tells is the best, for Tsh is a woman who has traveled the world and seen a lot. She introduced us last Friday to two teenage sisters who have experienced the power of Jesus to turn their lives around, and then she writes:
My family and I have lived abroad and seen the simplicity of other cultures first-hand. I’ve lived on the Serbo-Kosovar border in the former Yugoslavia, not long after MiloseviƧ swept through with his atrocities. I’ve visited Russian orphanages mere months after the Iron Curtain fell.

But I admit that this week has been the first time I’ve seen real, hard-core, true poverty with HOPE enveloping each of these hearts. These kids, loved on individually by Compassion sponsors, have hope. Their families may live in homes not larger than the bed I’m typing on, but they have hope. You can see it in their eyes.

What about you? It really doesn't matter whether you're struggling to find hundreds of dollars a month to keep your house, or whether you're struggling to earn $1 to put food on a rough wooden table in a shack. Regardless, there is an enemy--the prince of darkness--who does all he can to extinguish hope.

But it's there. It's found in Jesus, and in Jesus alone.

It's not found in a job that'll bring enough to pay all the bills. It's not found in a that special someone you hope to find or think you've found. It's not found in a government that gives help, nor in a government that protects freedom. It's not found in a clean bill of health, and it's not even found in a world where everyone is treated right.

Only in Jesus.

Sometimes, I think our 1st world is spiritually darker than theirs. After all...which is darker? A world that has no hope except Jesus, or a world that is filled to overflowing with empty hopes that lead to nothingness. Which is easier? To accept the true Hope when it is the first ever offered to you, or to believe in a hope that someone says is real, even though it looks a lot like the fakes that have always burned you in the past?

If you have no hope and are seeking it...go back through these posts. Read all the Compassion Blogger posts if you like. If your life feels as dark as theirs, admit it! And don't feel guilty about it...hopelessness is no respecter of persons or of income levels.

But find the hope. It's there. The same Jesus that offered it to them, offers it freely to you as well.

And if you have found the hope, then let your light shine! The world around you needs to see it, and the world 10,000 miles away needs to see it. Don't ask God if He wants you to do something; ask Him what He wants you to do. And do it. For in giving, you will receive even more.

Maybe you'll discover God's finger pointing somewhere near you.

If not, then maybe the convenience of sponsoring a child in poverty is where God is asking you to start. (Yes, I said convenience. $38/month isn't going to go far to help many people in our country, but God can use it to turn an entire family's life around when it's accompanied by willingness, prayers, letters, and commitment. Even without the $38, you can provide the other four things to a child that's getting the money alone...just call Compassion and ask if you can be a correspondent to a child whose sponsor isn't writing. Trust the bloggers from the trip...it makes just as much a difference as the money does...possibly more. And it doesn't even have to cost more than one stamp, because you'll be able to send letters from Compassion's website. Or go to Tsh's post and discover six small sacrifices that could make that $38/month possible.)

If you already sponsor a child, go write another letter.

But no matter what, let God show you that His heart is that you will know what is the hope of His calling...and discover how that calling is going to somehow fit in with His heartbeat until you are showing others what is the hope of His calling in their lives.

Hope is a powerful thing.


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