Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Reflections - The Lost Ones

These colorful beads are handmade by the women of the Karamajong tribe in Africa. This is how they make an income to provide for their family. It's simply amazing to wonder about the soul whose hands made this necklace. Who is she? Who are her children? And does she know Jesus?
I've recently been purchasing several of these for friends and family through 147 Million Orphans, which gives to ministries like Amazima and Project Hopeful. Even in the midst of an incredibly busy college semester, the Lord keeps directing my heart to the lost ones, the ones without names. In the past months, the ache has been ever present and, yet, it's easy to get so caught up in one's own life and trials among a circle of family/friends. How is it possible to have a burden for the souls you know near at home as well as for souls abroad of whom you've not even met? How is it possible to not be driven to despair at the brokenness in front of you as well as for those nameless souls across the miles and across the seas? Because there is a Sovereign hand that upholds all. Nothing I give, say, or do for any one, home or abroad, is effective unless I am first wholly devoted to my Yeshua, no longer caught up with the cares of this world or my own life. I am reminded of a precious quotation from Amy Carmichael that humbles my heart when I begin to despair a little:
"...there are some among us who heart-break is that they have no sure and certain hope about their dearest, who have passed beyond reach of human love and influence. May I offer this which comes to me in the form of a question: Does to be out of reach of our love and influence mean to be out of reach of His who said, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me?" ?"
- Amy Carmichael

As I wait upon the Lord's direction of my life, He continually gives me glimpses into His heart for the orphan, the widow, the afflicted, oppressed, or slaves...each of them living in the shadow of hunger, shame, death, abuse. Hearts crying out for salvation. Hands eager to receive. Souls ready to be loved.
Sometimes, it makes you feel so utterly desperate. O Lord, I am willing for you to use me in any way You so desire and will. If You are only asking me to pray for these little souls tonight, then, Holy Spirit of God, pray in and through me. Don't allow me to become indifferent as I have so many times before!

From a blog called Conspiracy of Hope (Orphans):

Every 15 SECONDS, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa

Every DAY 5,760 more children become orphans

Every YEAR 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone)

143,000,000 Orphans in the world today.

Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…

Every YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT of the system

Every DAY 38,493 children AGE OUT

Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan child AGES OUT with no family to belong to and no place to call home

In Ukraine and Russia 10% -15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18

60% of those girls are lured into prostitution

70% of those boys become hardened criminals

Many of these children accept job offers that ultimately result in their being sold as slaves. Millions of girls are sex slaves today, simply because they were unfortunate enough to grow up as orphans.

"While women weep, as they do now, I'll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now I'll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I'll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I'll fight, I'll fight to the very end!" ~ William Booth, founder of Salvation Army.

Lord, teach me first to fight on my knees interceding for these souls. Here I wait for Your call to Go.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. ~ Psalm 68:5

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the LORD his God,

who made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them,

who keeps faith forever;

who executes justice for the oppressed,

who gives food to the hungry

The LORD sets the prisoners free;

the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.

The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;

the LORD loves the righteous.

The LORD watches over the sojourners;

he upholds the widow and the fatherless...

~ Psalm 146:5-9