It wasn’t until I began traveling to third-world countries that I realized exactly how rich I am. Like most Americans, I have a stable home, plenty of furniture and all the things I believe I need, two cars, a few pets, flowerbeds, and a yard to play in. I have a garage to shelter my vehicles that is substantially larger than many of the homes I’ve visited on the other side of the pond; homes that may house many extended family members. Most days I eat much more than just one meal. My meals include many varieties of things to eat. When the holidays roll around, I am surrounded by family whose inconvenience of getting here may be nothing more than a delayed flight. Presents spill out from beneath the tree into the middle of the family-room floor. As the urge to jump in to one of my vehicles and take a long road trip hits, I do just that with very little hesitation. I am a substantially spoiled, American woman. It’s true that I’ve worked hard for all that I have. It is also true that working hard doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be blessed with all that I have.
It has been a blessing for me to travel deep into rural areas in several countries on our great planet. The Bible says that the poor we will always have with us. It is a verse that on the surface seems to describe someone who is lacking in what we think they need. While working beside the people in these remote areas, I have discovered that it means a little more than that…at least to me. Much of my time is spent taking care of the things I own; it’s a large house and needs constant cleaning and maintenance, the cars are the same as the house…needy, the yard needs constant care and attention. If I am not working on these things, then I am working on ways to pay for these things. The American Dream!! All of that doesn’t exactly leave time for what is truly important…to me.
Those I visit lead a similar but different life. They rise early and do their chores. If they have a job, they go work a long hard day; making enough to possibly purchase a loaf of bread…a luxury. If they are young and their family can afford for them to attend school, they attend. It is most likely that they do these things on one meal a day; the same meal they had yesterday and the day before. Fresh water isn’t running out of a tap. There may not be a toilet present in their home. The family members do not have their own personal spaces in their home. One thing that is true in the homes that I visit: God is present and powerful!! They KNOW that He meets every one of their needs. They praise Him immediately when they receive anything at all. When I arrive at their door, it is me they want to pray for. And in those moments, I see myself as the poor. Oh, I know that God meets my needs, but mostly I run out the door, jump into a vehicle and drive to somewhere and purchase them; without a second thought as to where they really come from. I do not really possess that conscious, dependency on Him the way I should. And when those with much less than I begin to pray, I wonder; do they know? Do they understand how much more of an awareness of God I need in the little everyday habits of my life? Do they look at me and see the poor of which the Bible speaks? Sometimes I feel as though they do.
I have had the opportunity to get involved in the lives of several young individuals around the globe. We call them our sponsored children, but really, they are so very much more than that. With our meagre 35$ a month, we meet their physical and educational needs. Is that what they share in their letters each month? No! Their focus is not on the money we spend on them, or the gifts we send. Their focus is on us, on prayer, on thanksgiving, on the awareness of what God is doing between us. Their focus, as well as ours, is on the relationship we are building. A mere 35$ is what bridges the gap between one country and another, between one family and another.
I am also a sponsored child. A price was paid for me. Someone stood in the gap in order that the gap would close so that I could have a relationship with someone whom I was very far away from. That price was much greater than 35$. That price cost a Father His Son. I can never repay that. He doesn’t want me to. What He cherishes is me allowing Him to be involved in my day, in all its happenings, in meeting all my needs. As I long to hear from my own sponsored children, He longs to hear from me.
Who are you standing in the gap for today? Who is standing in the gap for you?
(If you would like to sponsor a child, I can give you more information on how to do so. You will truly be blessed. If you would like to be the sponsored child of the Creator of the Universe, I can also help you with that.)