For whatever reason, the Holy Spirit has been haunting my memory banks with the many faces of the poor, homeless, disabled, widowed and orphaned whom I witnessed or personally encountered while visiting downtown Port Au Prince in Haiti.
One man, in particular, approached me while my small group of six toured the remains of an old church in the city center. A structure that I assume once stood elegant and regal before the devastating quake leveled it. Today, all that remains are broken columns and colorful pieces of stained glass shattered about it's solemn, desolate property.
Anyway, in desperation, this one particular homeless man approached me - holding tightly, tearfully, to a malnourished infant and relentlessly begging to me in Creole - our faces so close we could have kissed. Ignorant to his language, I tried to imagine what his words translated into, but our guide/body guard, Junior, regretfully informed me, "Victoria, you really don't want to know." And truthfully, after days of absorbing the hard realities of Haiti, indeed a part of me didn't want to know. Ignorance did seem bliss. For what tragedy and nightmares had this man already faced? What wish was he now hoping to see fulfilled? Was he blessing or cursing my intrusion into his country? Was he seeking God to reveal Himself in this broken structure - a place that once welcomed it's church members to support one another while communally worshiping The Almighty's throne?
Sadness consumed me as I realized Junior was right. At that moment, I didn't want to know anymore than the obvious. I didn't want to expose my heart to further emotional trial by personally feeling the helplessness of this man, to say the least about threatening the safety of my own comfort and/or well-being in gaining such knowledge. What fearful resistance the Enemy encourages us to succumb to in order to defend our own internal false sense of security. How easily we forget that the only happiness we need focus on is the joy of the Lord Jesus... the only protection we require is the omnipotent strength of our Father on High! But selfishly, when faced with this world's hard truths, we erect tables full of our own safe, selfish luxuries and encamp these thoughts around the temple gates of our heart - blocking easy entrance to Christ's Way while numbing our ability to love others deeply!
O Christians, if this is our default response to the poor and broken... have we truly relinquished full ownership of our heart to the King of kings? Or are we still so in shock over the damage and false hope that sin has brought upon our corrupted planet that we remain paralyzed in moving forward in LOVE? Should we not be sharing Redemption's promise and looking through the lens of the good Samaritan... always choosing to care about others as we'd care for ourselves? Always becoming less so that more of our Master may be revealed?
Alas, the Holy Spirit insured that the language barrier between me and the homeless Haitian man could not impede the sorrow most evidently displayed in his needy eyes. Looking straight into my conscience, he held up in the air his sickly child... showing me the labored breathing of one tiny soul struggling on this earth... hard proof that this was no way for ANY child to live. Immediately, I began praying and watched this father anxiously wait for any kind of further response from me. Clearly, He was hoping to see me love, and was evidently desperate for Jesus to show up... through me... through you.
Believer, has Jesus shown up in you today? Is His love evident to others in your words, deeds, life? Lord, how I pray that we might each decrease our own selfishness in order for Your Highness to increase and save others. Only then will the old become new! Reign over our lives so that true righteousness may abound within, and healthy change may flourish without! Continue to cover our eyes with holiness and "Be Thou My Vision" so that we might be useful toward Your LIFE eternal!
As I write this, I am home sick fighting the flu. "Fighting"... that is a laughable way to put it. I am warm in my bed with a steady supply of clean water, warm soup, and all sorts of medications. I have loving family members who each have means to bring me anything I request. I have a steady supply of mindless entertainment, a heated, clean mattress, and well fed pets snuggling closely at my feet. (Pets, mind you, who are healthier than the many desperate Haitian families I encountered and will always wonder about and pray for.) No, fighting is clearly not what I am doing in comparison to so many less fortunate who fight to survive each day. Let each of their faces be burned into my mind so that they may serve as my Master's reminder of whom I should really be caring about and loving more in His Name!
Yes, today the Holy Spirit reminds me of the very heart of my King Jesus, who despite His own richness still chose to lower Himself in order to save us. As such, He calls me now to share this reminder with you to choose to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR. Love the poor, the homeless, the disabled, the widowed and the orphaned. Love as He loves you. Love as generously and selflessly as the Father in Heaven has proven His love through the sacrifice of His only Son! Yes, our Savior knows that the worldly way is not the correct way for ANY child to live. So, honor Jesus' Name by proving His new life today with LOVE!
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Believers, my prayer is that this little blog will serve as a reminder to every Christian to stop burying our heads in the sand when it comes to those in need, and instead choose to be part of God's eternal solution - even through the worst sorrows of this time. People are clearly in desperate need of our Savior, and they are looking at us for His grace to be revealed. We are His hands... His feet... His heart! So let's live in obedience and without fear as we share the wondrous hope of our eternal Savior and LOVE LOVE LOVE with all our heart, soul, mind, strength!
This is the day to go and do likewise. Let us expose Jesus... through me...through you!