Monday, March 14, 2011

Responding to Crises

Are you wishing right now that you could travel to Japan/Haiti/Chile/ or Egypt/Yemen/Libya?  Perhaps yes to the first group, less likely to the second group.  Are you seeing the pictures of the devastation, the people weeping and wishing you could go over and gather them up in your arms, clean their physical wounds and fix their emotional and spiritual wounds?  Are you crying over the motherless children wandering in the streets?  Are you frightened for those at risk of radiation sickness and those dealing with the anger of a mob?

It is so difficult to know how to respond to these global crises.  Perhaps you know that international travel is out of the question for you personally.  Perhaps you have very young children who must have their Mama at home.  Perhaps your health will not permit travel, or you don't have the financial resources to go.  Perhaps you are wondering how you are to respond as a Christian; what would God have you to do this week?

I am blessed to be part of an amazing church family at The Church at Brook Hills.  Every week one of our pastors preaches the Bible.  We do not hear sermons about current issues, social, political, or otherwise.  We just hear from the Bible and what God is saying in His word.  Yesterday was a special service for us.  We have been studying the book of Acts this winter and yesterday came to the 20th chapter where Paul was sent from Ephesus back to Jerusalem.  We also had the privilege of commissioning a team who are going to the Seattle area to start a new church.  One thing that struck Mark and I both was the statement that we are called to work wherever God has placed us.  Perhaps we are thinking that God wants us to go to a particular mission field but we are either unsure which one or we are just not quite ready to go.  So we have to choose whether to spend all our time fretting over and wondering about the future, or to work to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ where we are right now.  Convicting, isn't it?!

So here's the deal.  Perhaps you can go to Japan/Haiti/Chile this week to help with earthquake recovery.  Perhaps you can go to the Middle East to help those suffering through the turmoil over there.  Then again, perhaps you can not.  If you can not, what are you going to do where you are?  How are you going to minister to the people God will place in your life this week?  How will you minister to the checker at WalMart today?  How will you be Jesus for that person from the billing department who has messed up your account?  How will you help that person in line with you at Starbucks?  Folks, the needs around us are huge.  Take a moment and look at the eyes of the people you are around in your office.  How many of those co-workers are completely lost and suffering deep hurts?  What is it worth to you to obey Christ and show His grace, His mercy and His love to them right now?  What are you willing to risk to be obedient?  What you choose to do today will not have a direct, obvious impact toward helping those suffering devastation in Japan.  But the suffering is not limited to Japan; it is right beside you.  Pray for those around you.  Ask God to give you discernment to know to whom you are to speak.  Ask Him to give you the boldness to obey His directions.  Ask Him to give you the words to say.  Ask Him to give you the grace of an obedient heart.  And after you ask, obey! 

Continue to pray for the people around the world who are suffering great tragedies.  Remember that your prayer can and does have a powerful impact. I believe that Exodus 17:8-13 is not only a great story about the history of Israel, I believe that it is also a picture of God's people praying for one another.  Lift up the weary arms of your brothers and sisters in other parts of the world today.  Look forward embracing them one day in Heaven and talking about how your prayers for them this week blessed each of you.

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