Each week I travel to the same school every Friday morning. Children of all different ages burst in joy and spontaneous laughter everywhere. They hug you, hold your hand, and cling as closely as they can to you. This particular school has become one of my favorite places to visit. The relationships I’ve been able to invest in are continuously pointing back to the His steadfast love.
Many children gather around as we distribute the food. They each hold either a plastic bag, bowl, bottle, or simply anything they can in order to receive a scoop of lugaw (rice porridge). I had the privilege of scooping the lugaw this morning and I lost track of how many containers I filled. The line seemed to be never ending as they all piled in. At one point children were coming up for seconds, some cutting the line before others had a chance to be fed at all. I had to have one of my good brothers Chris translate for me, reminding them to wait until everyone had eaten before coming up for seconds. He told them this multiple times. Yet I continually was meeting a familiar face and a bowl was placed before me that I had already scooped lugaw into earlier. I simply had to pick and choose who to give a scoop to as I wanted every child to be fed that hadn’t eaten yet. Some of the kids understood they had to wait, and some were so unbelievably hungry they were pushing other children to make it to the front of the line for more. I felt my flesh becoming frustrated as I needed them to simply wait their turn, especially if they had already eaten. They just didn’t understand. Suddenly the line of children wasn’t a line but a huge mob where containers were being shoved forward in hopes of receiving one more little scoop of lugaw.
I felt myself becoming discouraged more and more with every scoop. Felt my heart becoming restless as I struggled to keep the patience. Felt myself beginning to feel angry. Angry that so many children are hungry. Angry that hunger is even a thing. Angry that most of these children won’t have a guaranteed meal until next Friday morning.
The lugaw portion in my tub that was once full was dwindling fast. I scraped and scraped the bucket, praying Lord please multiply this food. My heart was literally burning as I struggled with understanding the injustice of this world. At one point I lost it. I started crying uncontrollably as I scooped little amounts into a container for each child. I had to turn my back to some as I didn’t want them to see me upset. I would wipe the sweat that was pouring down my face and the tears that soaked my cheeks onto my shirt. My hands were literally searing hot as I touched the burning lugaw trying to make it go as far as I could for each little love. I would hand them their container and force a smile.
My hands were shaking as my heart was being shattered in an instant. Why are so many people hungry in this world when so many take for granted the food they have access to? Why must a child go so long without a meal and face food insecurity? Why was the Lord showing me this? Why would He let me feel this anger boiling inside? Why would He let me be mobbed with children and literally feel more discouraged than I ever have in my entire life? Why is poverty even in existence? Why do so many go without and so many go with a surplus? Why does injustice find so many hearts and cripple so many?
As I scraped the very last ounce of lugaw into containers I watched the color drain from children’s faces in the back of the line as they realized they’d have to go without. My heart sank. I felt sick to my stomach. Why was something as simple as pouring lugaw for children at a school causing me to become overwhelmed inside with frustration, anger, and disappointment with the darkness in this world.
I’m writing this, still struggling to put into words how I felt. Struggling to convey this message because it’s something you have to see with your own eyes. Something you have to experience. But I pray you can feel even just a tiny ounce of hurt that I felt I this moment and I pray you use that hurt to ask the Lord how He can use you. The Lord wants to use you for His glory. Wants you to find the hurting, afflicted, hungry, broken souls of the world and meet them right where they are. Find these people halfway across the world and find these people in your very own neighborhood. But regardless, find them. Meet them right where they are.
Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Don’t expect anything in return for giving love. Love was meant to be freely given. Be frustrated with the injustice of this world. Be overwhelmingly discouraged. But know He is God. Understand He is far bigger than anything that hinders love. He has overcome the darkness and He is continuing to overcome it with each heart that turns to him. The Lord broke my heart in an instant, He continues to break my heart in unexpected moments but for this I am eternally grateful. Grateful that He chose me. Jesus knows there is a big harvest. He was the first to have compassion on the broken, sick, afflicted, hungry. He said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” [Matthew 9:37] Be a worker for His Kingdom. Be a lover of His Kingdom. Lay down your life, surrender at all costs to give all you have because that’s when He uses you in profound unexpected ways for His glory.
I’m grateful He sent me. He ordained this season for me to live in the Philippines. To be a witness. To see the injustice but to bring the light of Christ. I’m in love with Him and how He called me into partnership to share this good news. To share this unexplainable uncontainable love. Stop living your life for yourself. Stop giving in to fleshly desires and start understanding you are a child of God. That sin has no power over you because that was taken care of at the cross. Put away your worldly desires. Don’t run with the world. Run with the Lord. Understand that your citizenship lies in Heaven. This time here on earth is meant for passing through. Meant to bring all blessing, all honor, all praise, all glory to Jesus Christ our King. Understand when you lose your life for His name same you will find it. Know that fear can not hold you because the Spirit has adopted you as sons and daughters. We cry out “Abba!”
We suffer with Him so that we can be glorified in life with Him also. He is worth everything. He is worthy to be praised. Love and love well. Meet people where they are and love them in the midst of their brokenness. Fight for His great name to be spread to all ends of the earth. The world is hurting. The world is broken. The world is sinful. Jesus Christ is bigger than any of this. He is the way, He is the truth, He is the life. He is peace. He is goodness. He is love. He is the savior of the world. I will give everything I have to make His name known. These present sufferings are not even close in comparison to the glory that will be revealed to us, to the glory that is being revealed to us more as we seek Christ [Romans 8:18-19]. He is worthy of it all. Jesus changes everything.