Some of the most powerful experiences of my life has been seeing first hand the work of Compassion International, like the time the Farmer and I went up the Amazon in Equador and met Jonathan, a boy left in the jungle all by himself. This week a group of Compassion Bloggers are back in Ecuador writing the stories they see each day with Compassion International. Brianne McKoy works with Compassion as the director of the Compassion Blog Network and this week she’s leading Ruth from Gracelaced.com, Shannan from Flower Patch Farmgirl, and Ashley from Under the Sycamore through Ecuador. Will you join them this week for the 14th Compassion Blogger Trip and their unforgettable stories? It’s a grace to welcome Brianne to the farm’s front porch…
To this world:
I’ve been looking at you all wrong.
You stepped up to me when I was young and flung open your coat so I could see what you carried.
You cooed, “I’ve got it all. Anything you want.”
You seemed nice enough. So I took a hit.
First it was popularity, which has taken approximately my whole life to come down from.
Then you let me sample pride, possessions, power. It was all so strong. It was all so intoxicating. You spun me around until I was too dizzy to look straight and you sent me on my way, “I’m all yours, baby. Live it up.”
I guess it could have worked but in my reeling stupor the Savior of this world grabbed me by the shoulders, He called my name. And I was, with great resolve, wholly His. The aroma of His love exposed the aroma of you, which smells mostly like rot.
He set me straight and showed me how truly upside down you are.
You put the best looking first and the least of these last. You pour accolades on the rich and devastate the poor. You invite the popular first. You hide the unwanted in the shadows.
But can I blame it all on you? You convinced me that it’s my life I need to save – and for a time I agreed.
But His call was so inside out. It was so fantastically right. It went something like this, “Let’s lose your life and go save so many others.”
Marcela walked right up to me and slipped her hand inside mine. It was relentless. The tenderness and kindness of her grip could not contend with the grip of this world.
I grabbed onto her like she was an anchor. She beamed bright even though poverty rang terrifyingly loud right outside the church.
I directed my attention to the pastor but Marcela’s wild-eyed gaze never moved from me.
She introduced her big brown eyes into my being & I couldn’t think of anything more beautiful this world has ever presented me with.
Every few minutes I stole glances down at her. And she was steady, eyes never flinching.
She just craned her neck up, almost impossibly, and took me in.
I wondered at how, in a room crammed with over 100 people, a booming pastor, and children shuffling around, she could be so content with just me.
Again God saved me from this world and from myself through the grip of a child. All through your precious touch, Marcela. And so this is for you.
Marcela, you look a lot like Jesus to me.
You look like one bright divine appointment.
You look like a girl who entered this upside down world in a busted up land but someone, someones, your pastor, your sponsor, your mother drowned out the ugly of this world and so you have this smile.
You are not hidden. Your surroundings are not worthy of your beauty.
The upside down way of Jesus is this. I thought I was coming to save you but you saved me.
With one look from you the grip of this world shriveled and died. Again.
One look from you and it was almost like Jesus Himself was taking me in and asking, “Tell me, what is it you want to do with your one wild and precious life?” (Sometimes Jesus sounds like Mary Oliver. Or I suppose, the other way around.)
One squeeze from your hand and I couldn’t help but wonder why I’ve held onto anything else at all.
The praise of man.
The next rung on the ladder of some self-proclaimed dream.
Marcela, today you reminded me that my life is worth losing so that Jesus can save so many others.
One look into your eyes and I remembered that I did not get to choose where I was born and neither did you.
That while most of my life has been comfortable you bang up loud every day against poverty. That if it was me who was born into poverty I could only hope for God to use His people to save me.
This is how God works. That He is using me as a sponsor, to save lives, and He is using those precious lives, those children, you, Marcela, to save me right back.
To remind me that when I leave this earth I will take nothing with me but what I gave away. Love. Hope. Service.
That nothing in my life is as precious as trusting God with everything I have for His Kingdom’s cause.
Could you possibly know that your one brave, small step toward me was the irrefutable voice of God reminding me that if I have, if any of us in this world, have any amount of status, any money, any power it is for the sole purpose, the soul-purpose, to allow Him to use us to save many lives.
The grace is that God is saving lives every day through so many means.
Sometimes it looks like $38 a month to sponsor a child. When we’re talking about saving a child, can we agree that $38 a month is so worth it? So a child can hear the gospel. Can eat and grow and receive an education. The fierce love of Jesus is this, that while the world is trying to hide the poor and the weak, God has not forgotten His creation.
And He desires to use His people to save many lives.
If we would but trust Him in this call, to lose our lives for His cause, our world would be filled brimming with Marcelas.
For reading about Marcela, thank you. God has something so unimaginable for her, doesn’t He?
And maybe He wants to bring a Marcela into your life? If you were like me, and wondering if sponsorship is the right time or step for you, can I say that I waited too long to sponsor my first child?
And a child’s life is not worthy of my “lofty” time-delayed contemplation.
We must act.
We must allow Him to use our life for something greater than this world has to offer.
View children from Ecuador who are in great need of hope and love. Sponsor a child today!
This week Brianne McKoy is in Ecuador with Compassion for the 14th Compassion Blogger Trip. Enter this with them? Read more stories about their time in Ecuador from Ruth at GraceLaced.com, Shannan from Flower Patch Farmgirl, and Ashley from Under the Sycamore.
And a gift? Ruth graciously created a print exclusive to Compassion.
To anyone who sponsors a child during their trip, you will receive this print FREE to commemorate your decision to save a life.