"O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. (Isaiah 40:27, 28 NLT)
When I started working at ACF, I was challenged by Will to get to know my neighborhood, pray for understanding of the needs and how our new church might help. Simple, right? As I prayed about this, met with people and observed our area, the Lord placed a burden in my heart for many of the apartment communities in our area. I shared this with our new church and we began to pray about this burden. Now, a year or so later, I'm thankful to be joined by God to a group of folks who are living out this mission with me.
Over Christmas, 5 of our small groups adopted families through an apartment complex and local elementary schools. The stories of how God is connecting people with means and people with needs are continuing to unfold..and they're awesome! To give you some idea of what's going on without exposing names, we have found sweet families facing real struggles, wondering if their cars will make it to work, riding the bus for an hour to take a child to the doctor or if they have enough to pay their rent. Is our calling to save them from all their problems? Not necessarily, but many of us have experience, resources, advice and can share ways we made it through. More than anything, I have seen our groups listen, love, encourage and speak hope into these families.
Just this week, I have been privileged to be the point person for our group as we have helped a young couple. As we worked with them to find a way through a broken down car and possible eviction, we encouraged them by sharing we had faced similar challenges when we were younger. The best part, was looking into their eyes and saying our presence in their lives didn't have anything to do with us. We were there because the Lord had connected us to respond to the desperate prayers they cried in the middle of the night, wondering if God was there and if He was...did He see them? He was using us to tell them in their darkest night, yes...He sees them, He loves them and He cares about them. In the middle of the mess, that's really what we want to know...do You see me, do You see this? I love the verses above, because they assure me that He does see us. And I love that God uses people like you and me to do simple things in the lives of others and they learn for the first time or they're reminded...He sees them!
So, how about you? Are you facing a struggle and wondering if God sees you? He does, He's saying it right now, through this story, to you. He cares about all the details in your life and about your deepest need. Or maybe you know this about God already. If you do and you're in a group; ask your group how y'all can find opporutnities in your neighborhood, schools and the stores you frequent to serve someone with need. My prayer for you is that you will have the privilege to be God's answer to another and you can look in their eyes and tell them God just happens to be using you, to meet their deepest need - which is to know God sees them, He loves them and He cares about what they are going through, right now.