"And if you SPEND YOURSELVES on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday."

"The Lord will continually guide you. He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."- Isaiah 58:10-11

Monday, November 7, 2016

Broken and Hungry...

By Katie Smith

What in the world is God doing with all of these broken hearts and hungry souls? This is the question on my heart and in my mind. When I travel, I see them - the child searching hopelessly for love, the woman aching with pain from abuse, the old man starved of hope. When I am in the U.S., I see them as well – the middle school-aged child running away from home, the driven college student chasing grades, the lonely kid on a Friday night who doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere.

I think there is this strange dynamic around the world consisting of two groups of hungry people; one group (usually the more Westernized group) is hungry for purpose. They chase drugs and sex and alcohol and violence, hoping that something will fill their hungry hearts. The second group is literally hungry. They beg, grow thin, and starve hoping that something will fill their stomachs or someone will provide shelter to protect them at night. The first group has resources but no joy because material possessions leave you joyless. The second group has a glimpse of the love-strong relationship found in suffering with Christ and, shockingly, lives with more joy. But they don’t really live; they “get by” because of injustice and poverty.

And I can’t help but think... 

What if the first group reached out to the second group? What if the empty people found the hungry people and were able to recognize that there really aren’t any differences, that we are all in need of Something Greater than this world can satisfy? What if the people who are empty in the United States gave to the people who are hungry in the Third World and we were all filled with God’s holy joy and purpose for our lives? This is the banquet dreamed about in Luke 14. This is the dream behind the Greatest Banquet – filling each other. 

What if the millennial generation used their blessedness to be a blessing? What if we full-heartedly embodied Christ’s love, the starting point for change and the wrapping paper for all of God’s other gifts? Not only would the hungry begin to receive food, shelter, healthcare, education, and a chance to break free of the cycle of poverty, but the empty would begin to be fulfilled because they would experience the joy of giving. 

It’s my hope and my dream to see the millennial generation rise up and take a stance against evil by embracing the love God has given them. Imagine what the world would look like if we took what our generation is called, Generation Me, turned it 180 degrees around, and become Generation YOU. Imagine the joy and peace that would abound if we live for each other instead of ourselves. Are you hungry? Reach out. Fill and be filled by Love. 

I wrote this in my journal on a cold day last December after all my classes were unexpectedly cancelled. God placed a dream inside of me to see young people reach out to the needy around them and create change simply because they are so in love with God.

Although I didn’t know what would come of it at the time, I felt like this dream involved uniting the people I know and love in Kenya who are in desperate situations to the people I know and love in the United States who are eager to serve in various ways. 

This dream came true for me last week. 13 students from 11 different colleges applied for passports and visas so they could fly to the land full of fresh chai, lush gardens, and 196 orphaned children I consider my family. 

We journeyed through the country, tirelessly engaging children, peers, and adults in conversation and soaking up the richness of relationship. We filled ourselves up with the love of God and learned what it means to intentionally and immediately love those around us. But mostly, we said “yes” to God whenever He changed our plans or prompted us to move. 

We danced ridiculously in church with an entire community instead of eating lunch alone as a team. We cleaned toilets and made each other laugh to the point of tears instead of getting a good night’s rest. We embraced the joy of adventure instead of anxiety when we got lost in the dark on our team-bonding hike. (Let me tell you, we bonded.) 

So, I’ll tell you what I think God is doing with all these broken hearts and hungry souls: I believe He allows us to be broken by our sin so He can knit us into a tapestry of love, redeeming us by His mysterious and powerful grace”(Colossians 2:2-4). He allows us to hurt so that we can unite with and impact others, and through impacting others, experience Him more fully. 

I saw it these past two weeks: how the soul-hungry reached out to the literally-hungry, and we all found joy. We found joy because when God asked us to go and make disciples of all nations, He meant it; and, the only true fulfillment we will ever find is in God’s calling for our lives. 

We give, serve, and love not only because it’s what God has called us to do, not only because it meets the needs of others, and not only because we find tremendous joy in doing so, but we do it because we are so ridiculously blessed by our Father in Heaven. 

Do you ache to see a world that smiles, is full of compassion, and is so empowered by love that it conquers evil? Are you ready to fill and be filled by Love? 

Thanks for being a part of our lives... DREAMS CAN COME TRUE!! 

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