Last week we celebrated my son’s 9th birthday. Great efforts were made to make his day, his week, extra special. Special touches, simple actions to let him know we love him and we want to celebrate who he is. All 9 years of him.
In the midst of all the celebrating, the Lord broke my heart. He broke my heart for the children all around us who don’t have families making their day special. The children who don’t have a warm bed to sleep in at night, who don’t have a safe place to lay their head, who don’t have families showing them they are valuable in God’s eyes, who didn’t get a birthday card or gift.
I was lying in a bed soft and warm, fleece sheets pulled snug to my chin. The conditions were perfect for the most comfortable night’s sleep, yet I felt miserably uncomfortable. As I pondered the weekend with my children filled with wonderful moments where memories were made, my heart became heavier by the moment.
On my nightstand I had 2 magazines and some information I printed online. A Compassion International magazine, a World Vision magazine, and information from a non-profit I discovered in Charlotte. As I read article after article, the ache grew. Because we live in a world where millions of children are hurting, starving, and in unimaginable circumstances. They are not in warm beds. They have no food to fill their starving bellies. The Lord allowed the hurt to fill my heart. I allowed Him in fully, showing me the depth of the pain, the intense needs around us. I allowed myself to feel the pain. Despite my best attempts at comfort that night, the Lord made me completely uncomfortable.
We are privileged beyond belief in America. Blessed beyond measure. We know of the hurt in the world, but we don’t really know it until we live it. We can’t possibly imagine the pain and scars until we’ve walked in their shoes along their road.
I began noticing things about myself that just made my skin crawl. How much I love my comforts. The temperature took its first real dip last week. I walked right over to the thermostat and set it on an optimal temperature. An hour later I still felt chilled, so I marched on over and hit it up a couple of degrees. After making myself a cup of coffee to warm me instantly while I waited for the heat to kick in, I saw my actions and found myself completely uncomfortable despite my best attempts to feel just right.
How I take for granted the simple, simple elements of life that make life just right for me. Turning up the hot water until it’s just right. Unlimited supply of water at the turn of a handle. A toilet that flushes, a door that closes and offers privacy. A closet filled to the ceiling with 10 different styles of blankets providing exactly the comfort anyone could wish for. A closet filled with nothing but coats, an average of 3 per person in this house. One coat for each temperature range or weather condition. Shoes that need an organization system to house them all.
As I lay in my warm, soft bed, I cried. I cried for the children who can’t have what I am trying to give my own children. What if it were Jacob? What if it were Zachary? What if it were Andrew? Knowing and loving each of these boys, I would give anything for them. What if we were to imagine the helpless children of the world as our own? What if it were your own grandchild? If we were to imagine the nameless faces of the world as our own, would we feel called to greater action? Jesus sees them through the same eyes He sees us through. He loves them as much as He loves us. And He wants us to care for their needs.
The problems of the world are overwhelming. When we look at them as the gigantic problem that they are, we can become frozen, feeling that we are only one person, wondering if anything we do could make a difference at all.
We can make a difference. We might not solve world hunger. And we can’t save every orphan in the world. But what can we do for just one? Or two? Or one hundred?
What if you were that one who needed someone to help them? Wouldn’t you want someone to do what they could even if for just one?
So here is a call to action. What can we do beyond what we are doing? Beyond what is comfortable for us? What can we sacrifice in order to give a basic necessity to another? Could I leave my thermostat lower, saving money on my bill, using that extra money to help provide blankets for the homeless? The ways and ideas are limitless.
I believe if we experienced even just one day of what it’s like to live in poverty or a homeless situation, we would be willing to give just about anything. Because we would understand the depth of the pain.
Let’s get uncomfortable. Let’s get uncomfortable so that we can provide comfort to those who desperately, desperately need it.
Everyone wants to feel loved. Everyone wants to feel special. How can we create special moments for orphans, homeless, battered women, starving children in Africa? Who is God laying on your heart today?