A story, a charge and some exciting news….
A few months ago as I tucked my son in before bed, I realized I hadn’t caught up with him because it had been a very busy day. I asked him some questions and then I asked “What did you learn in Sunday school today?” I know this sounds like a typical question parent’s who go to church ask their kids. But we are not typical. We are those laaaame church goers that don’t find ourselves typically asking this, so you can pray for us. We talk about God all the time, but just not in such cued prompts.
At first Aidan’s answer seemed sketchy, a kind of “Let’s get this conversation over” type of answer, but then it led to some deep response. Aidan described how he thinks God will never give up on us because he didn’t give up on the cross. He said he shared this with this girl that seemingly flirts with him in Sunday school class. I thought a “not giving up” message is probably not what you want to share with girls you no longer want flirting with you! But instead of giving him advice on fending off the ladies, I said…“I like the waaaaay you think about God.”
Then for some reason I asked Aidan, “Do you sense God?”
“What do you mean?” he asked, like it’s a weird question. Poor kid has to grow up with a mom like me …Oh yeah, I realized, “sensing God” might seem like a foreign concept. I tried explaining, “Like… do you feel God or sense Him near you ever?”
I was kind of scared. What if he says no and the whole thing falls flat on the ground and breaks into pieces and his little faith dies a 10 year old death never to be rescusciated again. And I sat in that short silence thinking, I cannot possibly be afraid to ask such questions of my son for the answers do not prove the existence of God. I just wanted to know, how does this crazy, gorgeous, very much human, spiritually in tune, soon to be young man sense that there is a God? I mean how does he have such spiritual radar and think the way He does about God? It really sets me back sometimes. And really I just wanted to know. I figure if God is real, God certainly must show up and collide with His kids…
Aidan broke through my silent panic game of spiritual racquetball.
“Yeah.” Aidan went on to tell this story…
“Remember that one time when my friend’s head was being squished into the concrete at school by a hula hoop? Remember how I told you that kid was bullying my friend? I was not facing them. I wasn’t even near them. I was walking the other way on the playground. And it was like God tapped me on the shoulder and told me to turn around and I did. I went over and pushed that mean kid off him and said ‘Leave him alone!'” Aidan was telling this story with his strong voice and continued… “It was like God tapped me on the shoulder and told me to help my friend who needed help.”
Aidan looked at me and said much softer, “I guess that’s how I sense God.”
Aidan could have told me any story. He could have said he senses God when he is at church or when he makes touchdowns or when we pray at dinner or when we go on vacation and he doesn’t have to go to school. But he didn’t share those kind of stories! He shared a story about sensing God calling him to do something in the midst of someone else’s pain! I went to bed that night amazed thinking… that sounds like the God I know! He is a God who would go so far as to show up to a 10 year old on a playground and tap him on the shoulder and call him to help someone in need of help!
Since Aidan told me that story, I have heard several stories from different moms telling me different accounts of Aidan sticking up for others, peeling bullies off their kids’ bodies and telling kids who are picking on other kids to back off. My son is far from perfect, let me tell you, but for some reason speaking up for those in need seems to be core to who he is and how he “gets” God. And maybe how he “gets” God has shaped, who he is.
I have to ask, if a 5th grader can muster up enough guts to follow God’s call to help people in need, even if it means sacrifice, then should we not be able to do the same?
I want to look more like my son as he follows Jesus’ example. Jesus spoke up for those who had no voice. Jesus sacrificed for those who were lost. Jesus defended the cause of the needy. Jesus took on religious bullies, political bullies and economic bullies. Jesus became poor so that we might become rich. Jesus gave up his life so that we might find ours.
Proverbs 31: 8-9 commands us: Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
A few months ago, I suppose God tapped me on the shoulder. I was approached by Compassion International about being an ambassador for their amazing ministry. They describe that role around this proverb…speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. I prayed and researched the incredible work Compassion is doing and went through a process with them and I am now an ambassador! I so desire to be a voice for those who cannot murmur, for those whose circumstances have left them speechless, and for those whose place in life has told them they matter little. So this partnership with Compassion beckons me deeper into this call that I already have. Being a voice for hurting children all around the world is a privilege I want to lean into.
This means that on occasion you will hear me blog about partnering in what Compassion is doing because I believe to the highest extent that God is using them to give kids HOPE and LIFE and HELP. These are kids who otherwise have been hurting, impoverished, hopeless, hungry, uneducated and bullied by their circumstances. I will not only be blogging about their work, but on occasion you will find me speaking about how we can too follow Jesus in his cause to care for the poor and needy. So if your church is looking for a Compassion speaker, I am your girl:)
In the meantime, I encourage you on whatever playground you walk this day, to sense God. To look around and ask God, who do you want me to speak up for? How do you want me to help? Who do you want me to defend? God cares about His kids so much so that He will certainly tap you on the shoulders and point you in the right direction. And most likely that direction will be towards someone who is hurting and in need. Lets’ speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves together! Maybe our voices will boom and echo change into lives!
If God is tapping your shoulder today to help a child in need…here is how you can help…