Here's the continuation of the story told in an earlier blog entry...the next part of the story began in my sister's bathroom. That's where my husband was when he picked up a book, started flipping through it, and found the same photo that I used for the drawing I discussed in the earlier entry. Dave was very familiar with the photo at that point. He came downstairs, book in hand, and showed me the photo. I started skimming through the book, which is called The Hole in Our Gospel and was written by World Vision President Richard Stearns. A few days later, I purchased it and started reading.
(A little background...by that point, I was already familiar with World Vision through our sponsorship of Simon. And I was already familiar with Team World Vision. In recent months, I came across a several articles and was involved in a couple of conversations where people were talking about running for Team World Vision. In fact, a few weeks before I read the book, I told my sister that she should check out a informational session for Team World Vision in her town).
Richard Stearns writes of his own journey from hot shot CEO to World Vision President to broken advocate for the world's poor and orphaned. His story is nothing short of amazing...that God would care enough about this rich, white, Christian man to invite him to leave his position of entitlement and connect him with some of the most materially needy people on earth is truly compelling. Richard Stearns had the courage to say yes to God, even when he didn't want to. And his decision is changing his life and the lives of countless others forever. His book invites others on this same journey.
Did you know that God is like Martha Stewart? If Martha walked into a room with a crooked painting, she would need to straighten it. That is who Martha is; it is her nature, her character.** In the same way, it is God's character to set things right...to comfort the grieving and broken, to care for orphans and widows and poor people, to heal the sick, to give grace where it's undeserved. God says it much better than me through the prophet Isaiah (a little context...God is talking about being displeased with religious people who do all of the right religious things, like fasting, for all of the wrong reasons)...
6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
9 Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring."
Isaiah 58:6-11, New Living Translation
That God wants to set things right in our lives and in the lives of people all over the world is comforting. That He invites us and chooses us to share in the action of setting things right is awesome and humbling.
**I wish I could take credit for this illustration! But it was Sherman Snow who shared this during an InterVarsity urban program Bible study several years ago.