A number of years ago, I found myself feeling bored and restless. I was actively involved in my church, taking care of my family, serving at my children’s school, and spending time with other Christian women in a small group Bible study. These activities were all worthwhile, yet my sense of discontentment remained. Was there something more? Was God calling me out of the places where I had once been content in order to stretch me and show me another part of His Kingdom?
The more I read about Jesus, the more I saw His heart for the poor. Even in the Old Testament, God consistently called His people to care more deeply for those who were struggling: the broken-hearted, the lonely, the oppressed. I vividly remember the first time I read these words in Isaiah 58:
If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
How was I to answer this call? When I saw stories on the news about impoverished people in war-torn countries, I prayed for mercy. I sent money to the Red Cross in response to natural disasters, sponsored children through Compassion International, and gave to our church mission programs.
If I was honest, I really didn’t run across many hungry or poor people in my comfortable suburban circles, so I offered my money and my prayers where and when I could. Is this what God meant when He said to “spend myself” on behalf of the hungry? How could a suburban mom “satisfy needs of the oppressed” when the needs were so many and felt so far away? Could there be more?
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