I get overwhelmed when I look at how many people need clean drinking water and a place to live. I get overwhelmed by how many children are orphaned and need a home and an education and someone to love them. I get overwhelmed by the vast stretch of need and how small and limited I feel. I’m undone by statistics and numbers and how overwhelming it all feels.
And when I get overwhelmed, I start listening to my fears and the voice that says I can’t make a difference. That I’m too small. Too limited. I stop asking what is mine to do. And that’s when I stop seeing people and stories and faces. I only see that I’m not enough. I don’t have enough money or resources or influence or control. There’s nothing I can do.
But I’m convinced that Jesus doesn’t ask me to calculate how probable something is before obeying him. He doesn’t ask me to figure out if my budget can afford it before saying yes to following him. He doesn’t ask me to decide if my emotional bandwidth can handle it before I show up. He doesn’t ask me to predict the future and have all the facts in order to say yes to him and jump in.
He simply asks me if I will follow him.
I get to choose if I will trust in statistics and probability, numbers and chances, my bank account and paychecks, my feelings and fears, horses and chariots (Psalm 20:7) or if I will trust in Jesus.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
When I was sixteen, I went to a conference for teen girls in Seattle. While there, they asked people to consider sponsoring a child through Compassion International. They spoke of real children and their stories, offering the opportunity to love a child in poverty. I was already familiar with Compassion, as my family sponsored children throughout my own childhood. But in that moment, my heart was deeply moved.
Yet I remember thinking that the Lord wouldn’t ask me to do this. I had no income to speak of and was a teenager. It didn’t make sense.
But, I think sometimes the Lord delights in the paradox. I think he specializes in things that don’t make sense so that he gets all the credit. It didn’t make sense, but it was exactly what the Lord challenged my heart to do. He asked if I would trust him to provide the money to do what he was asking of me. He asked me if I would show up and love someone. He asked me if I would do my part and trust him to do his.
Would I say yes to following him?
Would I choose to do the things that Jesus says matter most: feeding a hungry boy, giving a thirsty person a drink, giving a dress to a girl who needs one (Matthew 25: 35-36)?
Would I trust in what he asked of me, even if it didn’t make sense?
Would I love well, even when it cost me?
Would I trust in things I could see or would I have faith in Jesus?
Would I trust in probability and numbers or would I trust Jesus?
That was 2003, and there hasn’t been a time in the last 13 years that the Lord hasn’t provided everything I needed to support that sweet four-year old girl with the big brown eyes in India, regardless of my income or where I lived or my marital status. Since then, I’ve also added my smiling, bright-eyed boy in Tanzania to my “far-away” kids. And there is always enough for them.
And that was all before I got married. It is a gift beyond measure to have my husband fully on board with a good chunk of change going towards loving on these two children we’ve never met, praying for them, writing them letters and cheering them and their families on. I’ll admit that I haven’t always done all those things well, especially in seasons of transition for me, but I’m grateful for the opportunity the Lord continues to give me to love on his kids. My weakness and failures do not disqualify me from following Jesus. My limitations and smallness do not keep me from being used by Jesus.
I see the Lord changing my heart through these kids. I’ve seen a glimpse of what a difference it can make to a child to be cared for and believed in and loved by someone they’ve never met AND in turn, by the teachers and mentors they are exposed to through sponsorship. These kids get to go to school and receive a birthday present and hear about Jesus because of something I’m doing, which humbles me to no end.
I see child sponsorship as a way that we get to be Jesus. We get to offer tangible love and care in Jesus’ name. I know I get overwhelmed with statistics and how great the need is. But when I slow down and listen to one story, loving this child, praying for this smiling face on the postcard in front of me, I get to be part of something big and beautiful and redemptive.
I’m not here to pressure anyone. I’m only asking you to pause right now and ask the Lord if this is something he is asking of you. I think we as Jesus followers are called to defend the weak and fatherless, to uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed (Psalm 82:3), but I don’t think this is the only way to do it. This is simply one of the ways I think Jesus has asked me to do it.
Whether it is child sponsorship or having more babies, where we live or what job we pursue, I don’t think I will ever be able to stop asking where my trust is. These questions are for my heart in every season.
Do I trust what I can see or do I have my faith in Jesus?
Do I choose to do the things that Jesus says matter most: feeding a hungry boy, giving a thirsty person a drink, giving a dress to a girl who needs one (Matthew 25: 35-36)?
Do I choose to do what Jesus is asking of me, even when it doesn’t make sense?
Do I choose to love well, even when it costs me?
Do I trust in probability and numbers or do I trust in Jesus?
My prayer is so often for Jesus to help my unbelief.
I always want my answer to be that I trust in Jesus.
I always want my answer to be that I follow Jesus.
I always want my answer to be that I trust in Jesus to give me what I need to obey him.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Friends, if God is asking you to sponsor a child, please don’t let any excuses stop you from saying yes to what he is asking of you. He will give you what you need to obey him. He will give you everything you need to follow him. You can find a child to love here at Compassion International.
I am speaking to my church family this Sunday about child sponsorship and would covet your prayers. I’m asking Jesus to move in people’s hearts and for children to be shown tangible love. I’m praying for people to be prompted to give and be part of kingdom work. I’m asking for children to be known and loved and cared for. I’m thanking him for how he saves children, how he champions the weak and how he places the fatherless in homes. And I’m thanking him for letting me be part of it! I’d love for you to pray with and for me. Thank you, thank you.