For the last several days, I have been reading an excellent book called, There’s a Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision. This book provokes me, in the very best sense of the word. I can’t read it without pausing and allowing the message to slap me in the face and sober me. The graphic tales of the world’s poor and the words of Jesus pierce me that I, as His follower, have a responsibility and privilege to care for the world’s poor.
This morning, Stearns described a trip that he and his wife took to a remote, mountainous village in Peru. There, they met a woman whose husband had died nine months previously. She had three small children who lived with her in a dirt-floored hovel, all of whom were sickened by parasites and disease.
During their visit, Richard Stearns asked the mother what she prayed for. She responded that she prayed for God to help her—for God to send her help. In that moment, Rich’s eyes were opened to realize something that had never occurred to him before. He was God’s answer to her prayer.
I feel certain that all around us, people are suffering for various reasons and in their distress, are crying out for God's help. They don’t know where else to turn, so they turn to a God they may know little of, wondering if that God will hear them and respond. And sure enough, God does respond by tapping one of his followers to become that answer.
For instance, my husband, who helps the poor find employment, recently met with a 58 year-old woman. She didn’t have a high school diploma or many marketable skills, and had just lost her job. She felt utterly hopeless. David walked her through a plan that would help her finish her GED and develop skills that would improve her employability. After their conversation, she stood with head bowed; hand over her mouth, ready to cry. David gently placed his hand on her shoulder and said, “Are you okay?” All she could muster was, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.” David had become God’s answer to her prayer.
Today, I ask God to help me become an answer to someone’s prayer. I wonder who that person might be. I wonder what they need that I have to give. I wonder how I will know them when I see them. I’ll let you know what happens. By the way, would you be willing to pray the same?