Some of you have asked me to share a little more about my upcoming trip to Haiti and why serving kids and families in a totally different country than my own means so much to me. I'm hoping maybe I can explain that a little bit more by sharing a couple verses with you.
Hosea 6:3 says, "Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring." I have always loved this verse because it portrays knowing God as something we work at and push for and strain for--it doesn't always come naturally and it involves seeking after Him with all our hearts--but the reward is so beautiful and so certain. He will respond to us as surely as even the changing of the seasons.
But then what does it mean, exactly, to know the Lord? This is such a multifaceted concept and I know I can't fully dig into that in this small space....but Jeremiah 22:16 shares at least one thing that knowing the Lord most definitely encompasses. It says, "He defended the rights of the poor and needy . . . isn't that what it means to know me?"
Well, isn't it? God's heart is for the poor and needy and broken and voiceless, and it's always been that way! If you tried to cut out every part of Scripture where it talks about justice for the poor, helping the needy and orphans and widows, and speaking up for those who can't speak up for themselves, your Bible would literally be full of holes because it's everywhere. Everywhere. God spoke up for us when we couldn't speak up for ourselves! While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He stood in the gap for us. He fully embraced our brokenness and took our dirt and grime and scars and shame upon himself. The economy of God has never favored the rich and powerful! The economy of God blesses the last in line, the utterly devastated, the outcasts, the sick, the impoverished, and the desperate . . . a woman who's been bleeding for 12 years, a criminal gasping out his final breaths on a cross, a widow down to her last two pennies. And we are each commanded over and over again in Scripture to jump on board with God's way of looking at things, to embrace His deeply compassionate heart, knowing that whatever we do for the least of these, we are truly, truly doing for Him.
Isn't this one major way in which we can press on to know the Lord? If God's heart is for the poor and broken--both physically and spiritually--how can ours not be as well? As Christians, we are called to truly be the hands and feet of Jesus in a broken, hurting, hungry, impoverished world. We can't be content to just sit back and let suffering happen, or let injustices prevail. It's easier and more convenient and rocks our world less to sit back and do nothing, but I just can't sit back and do nothing. I'm not willing to sit back and do nothing when there are needs to be met, cups of cold water to be given out, love to be offered in tangible, practical ways to people who need it the most. When we love other people in this way, we are pressing on to know the Lord! We press on to know and acknowledge the Lord when we get behind what He is behind and go where He goes, because His grace goes absolutely everywhere . . . to the prisons and brothels and crack houses and homeless shelters and orphanages, and to desperately poor villages in need of hope like Titanyen, Haiti. I want to know God more deeply today than I knew Him yesterday, and when we love the broken, we press on to know the Lord because that is SO near and dear to the heart of God. There's a lot of desperate need in Haiti, and there's a lot of need right in front of us, too, in our own communities. I feel a strong calling to be a part of what God is doing in Haiti and such a love for the people there, and ultimately I feel an overwhelming urge to hear the heartbeat of God wherever I go, whether it's loving orphans in a tiny Haitian village or fighting for children to be protected by our legal system at my job every day. God's made it so clear that His heart beats for the broken and needy, so shouldn't ours too? Let's be about our Father's business and love what He loves and be passionate about what He is passionate about, because this is part of what it means to press on and push forward and lay aside every hindrance to know the Lord. We serve and love because He first loved us. We are the instruments of His grace because we have first received His grace. And I want my life to be well done, not just well said . . . don't you?