There are some words, no matter how often I hear them, how frequently I say them, they have the effect of washing over me like rain. When I hear, I will be their God and they will be my people, something happens on the inside of me that I can’t really explain. We all, every person born on this broken planet has a need to belong. We might deny it, but it’s to our own detriment. God put it on the inside of us. Life is about loving and being loved, knowing and being known. C. S. Lewis wrote, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
To love is to be vulnerable. The sooner we embrace that fact, the better off we become. When I was in Vietnam The Lord put a baby in front of me and asked me quite plainly to take him as a son and to be his mom. Adoption is presently not available between the two countries. “If I give him my heart, my heart will be broken when we leave this orphanage,” I said. It wasn’t until The Lord showed me his eternal destiny was involved that I conceded. And sure enough, as we pulled away, I felt the pain a mother feels when she’s separated from her child. I cried out, “See Lord, I knew this would happen.” Then, as only Christ can do, he began to heal my broken heart.
Do you understand we don’t need to fear intimacy? God is bigger than our heart. He’s asking us to go places that are unsafe; to hold out hope, forgiveness, healing and love.
My former Teaching Pastor, Todd Phillips, found himself in the throes of the Ebola crisis in Liberia. He left the pastorate some months ago and began full time work through a nonprofit he founded called The Last Well. The mission is to bring clean water to the entire nation of Liberia—border to border—and offer the gospel to every Liberian served by 2020. Now, his big, yet somewhat unknown vision was the talk of every major news outlet as he returned from a 10-day trip to Liberia amid the Ebola outbreak. “The situation on the ground wasn’t changing day by day, it was changing hour by hour,” Todd told television reporters as he left the airport. “In less than 48 hours all government offices, schools and borders were closed and major NGO’s were evacuating their people.” Todd said that parts of Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city, became like a ghost town. “Ebola is a terrible disease that has claimed the lives of 900 people in five months, yet that same number can die from water-borne diseases each week,” Todd said. “The difference is that although we can only contain Ebola we can eradicate water-borne illness. We, at the Last Well, have never been more committed. Others may leave Liberia, but we’re in this until the last well is drilled.”
Persecution of Christians around the world has intensified. But I wasn’t surprised that in the same week media reports swirled around the horrific bloodshed in Iraq, Bob Goff posted a picture of the new school Restore International that will open this month. Bob wrote, “Grateful for Restore’s school in Iraq which opens in September. Fear only has the power we give it.” While others are fleeing in terror, Bob is going in. Much like Todd, Bob’s mission of Restore was founded long before the crisis occurred. In 2002, Bob founded Restore International, an international NGO focused on bringing hope and changing lives. Restore fights for freedom and human rights, works to improve educational opportunities, and aims to be helpful to those in need of a voice and a friend.
God knew men like Bob and Todd would not shrink back and in a divine setup has allowed what the enemy meant for evil to be something for good—to shine a light in the deepest darkness and to share His love.
Francis Frangipane writes, “Among all the weapons that a terrorist might have, his primary weapon is the psychology of terror. By committing and publishing his atrocities, he seeks to awaken fear in his enemies. Fear is like witchcraft. It depletes one’s strength and causes confusion. It blurs vision and paralyzes one’s ability to fight at full strength. Jesus said there would be wars and rumors of wars. He warned, “See that you are not frightened” (Matt 24:6). Today, let us examine ourselves. Though we live in fearful times, let us make certain we are not living in fear. Be wise, but not fearful.”
Agape love always seeks the highest good of another. It’s willing to be brave and lay down it’s life. I’m not talking about handling snakes for the sake of putting God to the test. I’m talking about following Jesus whenever and wherever He sends us. When you do, you will be criticized. People will call you crazy because they don’t understand the Love that compels you to love, the rescue that compels you to rescue. And sadly, they don’t know the thrill of a life willing to take great risk. I reposted the picture of Bob’s school in Iraq, commenting that Jesus and Bob make me want to be brave. Men like Todd Phillip’s make me want to be brave.
David sang a song to God after being saved from all his enemies and from Saul. Here are a few words from that song: I love you, God—you make me strong…
A hostile world! I called to God, to my God I cried out. From his palace he heard me call; my cry brought me right into his presence—a private audience! …
He caught me—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!
Listen to “You Make Me Brave” – Amanda Cook & Bethel Music for encouragement in the places God is leading you today.
To support The Last Well go to TheLastWell.org
For information on Bob Goff’s efforts in Iraq and around the world visit BobGoff.com/Restore
Connect with Michelle at HandofTheKing.com
By Michelle Wallace