I pulled my car around past the pile of trash and up to the edge of the broken curb, leaning out of the window I called out to a young street boy who I had purchased phone cards from many times.
“Have you seen Susena?” I asked.
“Yes, she is looking for you” He replied, as he began searching up and down the street for the 15 year old girl I was here to deliver a package of baby formula to for her young baby.
After about 15 minutes of wandering up and down the street asking every street kid we passed we finally found her.
“Susena” I said “I brought some baby milk for you”
“Thank you” She replied, but even as the darkness of the night set across her dark features I could tell something was wrong.
“Is everything ok?” I asked.
“Come” She said as she turned on her heals and headed down a small dirt alley.
I struggled to keep up with her despite her less than 5-foot frame she was determined and as I had learned from past encounters with her, she was feisty.
“Susena, where are we going?” I called out to her as my foot landed in a squishy bag of trash and slid off its course.
“Come” She repeated, quickening her pace.
After a few short minutes we reached our destination, a small blue tarp that was connected to the broken glass pieces that were cemented across the top edge of a crumbled brick wall.
“Look” She said, pointing underneath the tarp. I crouched down and moved inside to see a girl who looked to be about 14 or 15 years old, she was pregnant and clearly in pain.
“Baby come today” Susena said as she stood behind me outside the tarp.
“Right here?” I asked, as my nose wretched at the nauseating smell that surrounded the whole area.
“Yes here, but problem now” Susena said.
I looked into the pained eyes of the girl who was sitting in front of me, her legs sprawled out across the dirt and her back leaned up against the brick wall. She nodded at me but could not get any words out, her eyes said enough for me to know something was very wrong. Something more than just a girl having a baby on the side of the road, she needed help.
Within a few moments I ran back and got my car and piled Susena, her pregnant friend and a few others in and we headed off to the hospital, after a quick survey of the situation the doctor told me that she would need a C-section or that she would die from complications. I agreed to pay the five hundred dollars it would take and they rushed her into the operating room.
Now I need to stop my story right here, I need to tell you the honest truth.
I am no hero, in fact I spent most of the trip to the hospital thinking about how my car was going to smell bad for weeks and how I could hardly breathe in there. And later as I sat here, in the waiting room and 3 AM, waiting for some girl who’s name I did not even know to come out of an operation I was thinking more about the fact that I was missing a nights sleep than I was about how amazing it was that this girl and her baby would live. Don’t get me wrong, that was all pretty neat, and I would do it all again in a second every day of my life, but I am just going to level with you here and be honest. I am just as selfish as the next guy, and the thought of helping the poor is often burdened down in my head with the gritty truths about smells and ungratefulness, logic about how these people got there in the first place and excuses why I don’t have to help.
There I said it.
I might not be the most kind hearted guy in the world, and I might not even have as much compassion as the next guy, but the one thing that does resonate deep inside me is in this passage that I read by C.S. Lewis
“Do not waster time bothering weather you “love” your neighbor, instead simply act as though you did. In this we discover on of life’s great secrets. When you are behaving as if you love someone, presently you will find that you actually do.”
Bam, there it is, it hit me over the head like a cast iron pan. So what we are to understand here is that the key to loving is not in finding inside out hearts to like someone and then loving, but rather to step out in faith and start showing love, then we will be transformed into the loving person that God has for us.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like if I were a more loving person that a whole lot of this life would be easier than it is.
But then, I still feel like we aren’t done with this, like I am still left wondering why it is that we are to love and help, I feel like I still have one big question left for Christians.
What is it that we are trying to do on this earth?
I get that it makes us feel better when we love, that part makes perfect sense, but I also can see that the whole thing breaks down when that becomes the whole point. I think the right word is “hedonist”, someone who lives only for pleasure. The truth is, if all we are doing in helping others is looking for our own pleasure of comfort, we aren’t really doing much at all.
Yeah take a moment and let that settle in.
It is not about us…… But who and what is it all about? You know the answer already. It is all about God. Our life here has a purpose, and that is His purpose. The question is how do we act out that purpose; what is it that we are supposed to get up in the morning to go out and do?
I believe from what I read in the bible that the purpose he has for us here on this earth can be summed up in one beautifully simple word; Hope.
We were put here on this earth to show hope to those in need, not hope in us the people who set about carrying His hope because we all know that we will fail again and again, but we are to show others that they can put their hope in God and his light. We are like the guy on the side of the road who stands holding a big arrow pointing to God.
You want to change the world? Show hope.
I am going to leave you with one more incredible passage from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, this book is rocking my world these past few weeks as I slowly make my way through its pages.
“Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”
I don’t know about you but I read this and it makes me want to go out and change the whole entire world for Him. I want to show hope to millions who need it, I don’t want to leave the world as is. Are you with me? Do you want to show hope to the ends of the earth? It all starts with showing love, even when we don’t want to, the our hearts get changed, and we can show more love, and spread more hope, pretty soon we can start to see changes, people’s lives turned around because of what we did, because of God.
To be clear, I don’t just mean that we all have to quit our jobs and volunteer at the soup kitchen, not at all! In fact I think the biggest impact that we can have on this earth in showing hope to others is through the creation of jobs and thriving markets, we must look at the sustainability of what hope we give, and if it is all done through handouts we aren’t creating anything other than a days worth of food. If we want real change we should share the hope through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and by giving the poor a way to rise up out of poverty.
I could go on and on about all this, I get fired up when I talk about how best to show hope as you can tell, I will just leave it here and say this.
Let’s not let another day go by without our dreaming big and changing the world. We have all the tools we need.