Friday, February 15, 2013

Speak up! Proverbs 31:8

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute." ~Proverbs 31:8

My life is very blessed here in the U.S.  I have always had a roof over my head. I've always had food on the table.  I've always had enough clothing to keep warm in the winter.  And I've known Jesus since I was a child.  My parents carefully taught us about God, about what Jesus did for us, and how much He loved us.  I've had education (too much, perhaps) and have had jobs to earn money by for the past 16 years.

But my heart breaks. It breaks for those who have none of these things.  It breaks for the child whose life has been destroyed by AIDS, or the child who has been sold into slavery by parents desperate to raise enough money for medicine for a sick sibling.  It breaks for those dying from preventable and treatable diseases because they don't live near clean water.

My heart didn't always break.  At least, not this much.

As a child, I wanted my mom to sponsor a child in Ethiopia, and we did so, but I easily went on with my day without thinking of him.  In college, I co-sponsored a little girl in Honduras with a friend, and we enjoyed writing to her and receiving her letters, but my world was not seriously engaged by hers.

But in the past year, my heart is now breaking.  It breaks for the little boy we sponsor in Mexico who cannot attend school because he does not have a birth certificate, and so he still cannot read or write at 7 years old.  It breaks for the little girl we sponsor in Ghana whose mother works as a chop bar attendant and cares for 5 children on her own.  It breaks for the girl for whom I serve as a correspondent sponsor, wondering whether she will be able to make her dreams for the future come true.

The verse that spurs me on, the one that pushes me to write about them and to them every two weeks, and the one that tells me that my heart is breaking for what breaks the heart of God is Proverbs 31:8.

I first noticed it while reading Too Small to Ignore: Why The Least of These Matter Most, by Dr. Wess Stafford (the president of Compassion International).  He mentioned the verse in passing early on in the text, and I immediately wrote it down and decided it was my next scripture memory verse.  Only later in the text did I learn that this is the verse that is inscribed on the walls at Compassion's headquarters in Colorado. 

As soon as I read the words, it was like God whispered to my soul, "See, this is what I want from you.  I've given you so much and blessed you so much, you cannot remain silent when others are desperately in need of me.  Of food. Of shelter.  Of medicine.  Of freedom."

And so, I have decided: I will speak up.  I will not allow the suffering of others simply be an academic consideration.  While I might not be able to travel abroad or work for an organization that specifically meets these needs, I can speak.  God has given me a voice and a platform and a passion.

What about you? Will you speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves?