In April 1997, Debbie and I visited a children’s hospital in Soweto, South Africa, with Franklin Graham and his Samaritan’s Purse organization.
As we walked through the halls of that hospital, visiting children with terminal illnesses who we knew would never be healed this side of heaven, our hearts broke. We knew that this pain and suffering was not God’s desire for His children, but that His plan is for us to help, to be the ones who bring His love into these devastating circumstances.
There is strength within the sorrow
There is beauty in our tears
And You meet us in our mourning
With a love that casts out fear
These words are from my song “Sovereign Over Us,” (Written by Aaron Keyes, Jack Mooring, and Bryan Brown, 2011 Thankyou Music.) and they remind me of those days in the hospital in Africa. Because even in those dark and sad places of suffering here on earth, God meets us there. He wipes away our tears. But He wants more for His children than to live in this sadness.
God’s heart for the poor and suffering is evident all throughout Scripture. In fact, it is the most often mentioned theme in the Bible: care for the poor. More than 2,500 verses are dedicated to this topic. The instruction we see in the parable of the bags of gold in Matthew 25:14-30 has been particularly meaningful to me as I work out the ways God has asked me to be involved.
In this story, the manager of the estate comes to his workers and gives them each some seed money to go and multiply to benefit the estate. Each worker goes off and produces different results, and the manager is satisfied with all of those who have come back with more riches for the community.
In fact, the only one he chastises is the man who is too fearful to act, who hoards the money and refuses to take a risk.
God has given each one of us talents, just as the estate manager gave his workers this seed money. And it can be scary to step out and use those gifts — the skillfulness of a carpenter, the artistry of a dancer, the attention to detail of an accountant, or the loving hand of a mother. We fear rejection and failure, but we must use these gifts and share them with others in order to fulfill Jesus’ prayer that life on earth would be as it is in heaven, to see God’s kingdom come here to earth.
Debbie and I have recently been heartbroken about the health crisis so many mothers around the world face. Lack of good medical care during pregnancy and childbirth, as well as too many unintended pregnancies in too short a time period, have claimed the lives of too many mothers. I think of the children left behind, motherless, whose chances of survival to the age of five drop significantly with no mother in their lives.
What talents has God given you that you may help these mothers and children?
Are you passionate about traveling to these regions to help administer the lifesaving supplies they need? Could you speak up from home — through your blog, by writing a song, by telling your friends?
God’s gifted you in a unique way, and you can glorify Him by responding to His perfect love that has not forgotten us, by helping those who are poor and suffering, both at home and halfway around the world.
Watch The Mother and Child Project Video
Excerpted with permission from The Mother and Child Project by Melinda Gates, Christine Caine, William H. Frist, MD, copyright Zondervan, 2015.
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Take a few moments to assess what gifts and talents God has given you that you can use to help these mothers and children. Share with us on our blog! We’d love to hear from you!