Monday, June 10, 2013

Obedience can be a Struggle

This morning's devotion was Matthew 25: 13-40.  I've read the story many times before but this morning it seems to have a whole different meaning.  It's the familiar story about the master who entrusted his three servants with his money while he was on a journey.  Two of the servants increased their money while one dug a hole and hid his talent for safe keeping.

Each servant was given talents according to his ability and had the opportunity to use them to the best of his ability.  Compare the servant with 10 talents and the servant with 4 talents.  The master uses the exact same phrase to praise them both.  He doesn't love one more because he has more.  He loves them both because they invested their talents wisely.  The servant with 1 talent is called "wicked" and "lazy" because he let his own fear keep him from making wise decisions and increasing his investment.  He wasn't willing to risk what he had for the greater reward.

"You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master's happiness!"

What about me?  My Type A personality has a plan for how my life should go.  What happens when my idea about my talents is different from where God is leading me?  For years, I have longed to adopt a child.  I have spent hours scouring the internet about different countries, requirements, and options.  I have read the stories of those who have adopted and dreamed about how that would work for our family.   I have imagined children who I have met and how they could become my own.  But even as that desire stirs in my heart, I am being led elsewhere.

God called us to Guatemala.  We have family there whom we love.  Guatemala is home to more than 370,000 orphans.  I have seen their faces and know their names--Alejandra, Mauricio, Alex, and Mirna, just to start. 

I have seen with my own eyes, smelled with my own nose, and felt with my own hands what their lives are like--the good of private orphanages like Dorie's Promise and the heartbreak of the crowded government orphanages.  I have played in the room with 40 cribs of babies who only had a dirty yellow mattress and 4 toys to share.  I just want to rescue these children.  I want to bring them home and show them love because they long for affection.  Four workers can't take care of 40 babies.  They can barely keep them fed and changed.  Alas, Guatemala is not open to international adoptions and there isn't hope that it will be again any time soon.

Why would God call me to a place where my heart is broken and my deepest desire cannot be fulfilled?  I have to believe that God is using me and changing me to do his will.  God has known all along about my desire to adopt but he has different plans.  If I hadn't gone to Guatemala that first time I wouldn't have met my dear friend and I won't be involved in the mission work that I am now.  

Because I know and have seen the needs of orphans, I have a desire to help prevent more children from becoming orphans.  70% of Guatemalans live in poverty.  What if God is using me to help those families who would choose to abandon their children?  Can I work to help make a difference one family at a time? 

God opened the door for me to work with Desi Stephens.  I am now on the Board of Directors for Education Plus Development.  EPD's mission is to educate and empower families in underdeveloped areas to become self-sufficient while sharing the message of salvation.  I will share more in the next few months about EPD as we are ready to launch our website and capital campaign.

Even as I struggle with what feels like a loss I have to trust that if I am only willing to obey, God will allow me to use my talents to invest in his kingdom greatly.  It just might look different than I had planned and it might hurt to let go.

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