The image flooded social media and I couldn’t look away. A little boy covered in dust, dazed, alone, having been pulled from the rubble of a building. A little boy who could have been my Drew. Same size. Same age.
What if that had been Drew?
What if that was our life?
My questions bubbled into lament. Why, God? How can You stand it? How can You let it go on? And how can You tolerate those of us who go on about our lives as if there is nothing seriously messed up about our world?
I sobbed. I raged. I begged God to show me what I could do.
I know He calls average moms to extraordinary work. They visit a slum, a quarry, a certain street, and nothing is ever the same. They begin ministries that save thousands of lives from slavery and starvation. I could do that, too.
I was willing. As a teenager I was ready to go anywhere. Learn any language. Take any risk to spread the gospel. I was standing on my tiptoes in the dugout, ready to take my place in the lineup. But I never got the call. Not for that, anyway.
I went to college. Got married. Got a good job. Had a daughter, then a son. I started writing, and we had another son, and then the writing took off and I got published!
And then God led our family to homeschool the boys. Homeschooling! I did NOT see that coming but, okay.
I continue to homeschool and write and God has continued to bless those pursuits, but as I sat there bawling my eyes out over a very real child halfway around the world, I had to ask . . . What about the big stuff, God? What can I do?
(You know how it is when your kids have really ticked you off and you don’t speak so you can avoid saying something you’ll regret? Yeah…this silence may have been a much holier version of that…read on).
I slept that night with the prayer of, “Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus,” on my lips. In the days that followed I wrestled with the relative ease of my life. I live in a nice house in a safe part of town. I live in a part of the country where my faith is rarely questioned, much less mocked. I homeschool two of my three children. That’s about the most radical thing I do, and where I live, it’s not that radical. I write inspirational romantic suspense. My stories have a message of faith, and at some point there will be some nasty reviews about them because of that, but so far I’ve suffered nothing that could be called persecution for my faith.
But I would risk all of that if God would just put me in the game!
God let me wrestle with why He has put me here, doing what are relatively easy things for the Kingdom, when I am so willing to do more . . . until He’d had enough.
That’s when He pierced me with this...
“What makes you think I love your neighbors any less than those people around the world? When did you decide the people in your city didn’t need to hear about me? Or that the people who read your books don’t need to hear the Truth in exactly the way you’re telling it? Have you forgotten who I AM?
What makes you think I don’t already have you doing something *big* - or it could be big if you’d quit worrying about why I haven’t moved you to the Middle East and start focusing on the ministry you have in your own home and on your own doorstep. What could you do for My Kingdom if you cried as much over the lost, broken and hurting in your own sphere of influence as you are over that child?” #Dropsmic
I’ve been living with that reprimand for a while now and I’ve realized something.
God calls everyone to care, but God doesn’t call everyone to go. At least not the way we usually define "go."
Sometimes He calls us to stay. To stay in our nice subdivisions and be bold about our faith. To stay in our comfortable churches and use them as the launching pad for reaching our communities. To stay in our jobs and be a light to our coworkers. To exhibit God’s love on the soccer field and in the rehearsal hall. Sometimes he calls us to stay in the house writing a book and to trust Him that it will somehow play a role in the larger Story He is writing.
He calls us to stay put and to be intentional about entering into what He is already doing. Right where we are.
This isn’t a call to stick our head in the sand and pretend that evil doesn’t exist.
Staying put doesn’t mean staying oblivious and staying put doesn't mean we don't cry out to God on behalf of our broken world. It doesn't even mean that we don't continue ask Him what He would have us do.
But if He tells us to stay, we need to remember that wherever we are called to be—it matters.
We can be sure God has important work for us to do. What might He do through us if we realized that as far as He’s concerned, we all have a big role to play? That no location or ministry trumps another? That whether we are serving in Africa, Aleppo, Alabama, or the Annual Company Softball Tournament, if we are being obedient to His call, then our work has eternal significance?
He has called all of us to extraordinary work.
I don’t know about you, but I need to get busy.
Colossians 4:17b - See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord. (ESV)
I’d love for you to leave a comment and share how and where God is using you, and how you are joining Him in His work whether it’s in your own home or around the world.