During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Paul did not have a clue about the needs of the Macedonian people, but God clearly saw their needs. He gave Paul a vision to dispatch him to the scene. It is hard sometimes to look out over a world that seems in every corner to be in dire need of Gospel ministry. It can be overwhelming to feel that compassion for people well up inside of you and try to narrow your focus down to “that one.” It is clear that Jesus has called us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him, yet there seems to be a breakdown somewhere.
“Josie” came to church last Sunday and said to my wife, “Miss Anna you would not want to be me today. My mom has been locked in her room all day, and I haven’t eaten all day” She eagerly ate a cheeseburger and was hungry for her Bible lesson. She is a friend of our daughter Ruby, so Anna invited her over the next weekend to have a sleep over. She and Ruby stayed up all night playing dress up and had blueberry pancakes in the morning. When it was time to go home, it was obvious she did not want to go.
When Anna got her home she went in to check with her mom if she could stay another night, and her mom gave her a nod, so she came back with Anna. A few hours later, the call came that her mom wanted her to come home and didn’t remember giving her permission to go back.
When Anna went to drop her off, the apartment was without furniture, and the mom who works nights was just getting around. The track marks on her arms were very obvious, and Anna’s heart broke at the thought of leaving Josie there. It is a scene we have seen played out time and again.
Just like the Macedonian man, I know that God sees Josie sitting in that empty apartment. Not just her, but all across our city and state, children are in terrible circumstances waiting for someone to come and bring relief. Once you have seen them with your own eyes, you begin to wonder, where is the breakdown? Is the answer that we need more government programs? Does Josie need to be more literate, or does she have even more pressing needs?
God’s response to these needs has always been to send His disciples to the scene. The Hope of the Gospel, delivered by a disciple full of the Love of Christ is far superior to any other form of relief. Jesus leads us out of our comfort zone and right to the need, just like he did with Paul if only we are willing to listen and to go.
It can be a hard pill to swallow that God might want us to love a single mom, working at the Waffle House and living in an empty apartment with her two children. Being dispatched like Paul can be hard, sweaty, undignified work, but let us not imagine that our Lord has turned a blind eye to the needs of so many for the sake of our comfort. No, the breakdown is never in Him, the breakdown is in me. I would not venture to say where God might want to send you. This I do know; He sees every hurting, hopeless life, and if you will pray and ask Him to send you, you might just find yourself being the answer that someone is praying for.