{re}fresh

Tag: compassion

God’s Love Through Us

by Rob Dunne

Guatemala Pc (2)

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18

The humid Guatemalan air caused my t-shirt to cling to my body. Hours of mixing and hauling buckets of concrete dotted my skin with “fifty shades of grey.” None of this mattered to my little friend whose eyes opened wide as I came in to view. Instantly, her arms raised above her head, anticipating our embrace. Human interaction was a rare commodity for someone lost in a sea of orphans.

Malnutrition and lack of medical care had twisted her four-year-old legs. Constant dragging across dirt-covered floors left her bare feet filthy and scabbed. In spite of her circumstances, her smile was radiant. Spending time with her was one of the many highlights of my week at the nutrition hospital.

Time stood still as I entertained my little friend. Though my limited Spanish made verbal communication difficult, we easily understood one another. I pushed her around on a little plastic car as shouts of laughter echoed off the concrete walls of the open air porch. One of her favorite games was to hold my hands and walk her twisted legs up the length of my body to my shoulders. I would flip her over and gently place her bare feet back on the tiled ground. To my great horror, one trip led to blackened toes going into my mouth. Thank goodness for the blood of Jesus!

One of the greatest gifts of the Christian life is that we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. That indwelling gives us a greater capacity to love others because the Holy Spirit pours the love of Father God into our hearts. As that love overflows, we cannot help but love the world around us, regardless of how filthy they may appear on the outside. Hidden deep inside is a glorious treasure waiting to burst free.

There is a lyric from a song that I find poignant. It says, “God put a million, million doors for His love to walk through, one of those doors is you.” (With Every Act of Love – Jason Gray)  People are hurting. They need a touch from their heavenly Father to remind them that they have not been orphaned. God can use us to be that loving touch. This can be literal or metaphorical. Playing with an orphaned child, a friendly word of encouragement to your cashier at the grocery store or listening to an elderly person regale you with tales from their glory days are examples of God’s love walking through the door that is your life.

As you prepare to face the day today, remember to love God and love others. I promise the blessing you receive will be greater than the one you give!

Advertisements

Godportunities

by Rob Dunne

travelling-and-flying-when-pregnant-454He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. I John 4:8

Stale recycled air filled her twenty year old lungs. Soaring through the air at five hundred miles-per-hour added to the weight of her third trimester pregnancy. The seatbelt sat uselessly on the cushioned seat bearing only the secondary benefit as a flotation device. Trips to the bathroom were a regular occurrence as the growing infant rested once again on her swollen bladder.

All of the inconveniences of travel would not prevent my then pregnant mother from getting to Thailand to visit my father serving in Viet Nam. Every difficulty endured was well worth the love of his embrace.

Mary made an even more difficult journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem. Rather than recycled air, her lungs tasted the dust of the Palestinian roads. Her seat was likely the firm back of a donkey and her frequent bathroom breaks occurred behind cramped bramble-filled bushes. Certainly not a journey for the fainthearted.

Upon their arrival, the innkeeper told Mary and Joseph that there was no room for them in the inn. Their only option was a stable holding the animals. Jesus’ newborn head did not rest in a cradle from Pottery Barn but in the manger used to feed barn animals.

The innkeeper clearly lacked a sense of compassion. I am certain Joseph said his wife was about to give birth. While there may have been no rooms for rent, he could have offered his own room to the young couple. Yet the innkeeper sent them out back to the barn. What on earth was he thinking?

The innkeeper missed out big time. He blew an opportunity to show love and compassion to a couple in need. Most importantly, God gave him the chance to be one of the first people to see the Messiah. Following the birth, he surely questioned why shepherds were visiting the young family. Certainly, the wise men from the east must have raised his eyebrow. Perhaps the bright star hovering over the stable gave him a clue that there was something special about this family.

As we begin the New Year, we need to watch for Godportunities. Almost daily, we are given the chance to show someone compassion. Hurting people respond when others love them. Don’t be like the compassionless innkeeper. Keep your eyes open for Godportunities. Who knows, God may have something amazing in store for you!

*To learn more about Rob Dunne, please visit our Contributors page.

%d bloggers like this: