When David Platt reached out to ask if I’d read his latest book, I’ll just tell you: I could not put it down. Because he’s asking big questions, the questions we’re asking, whether we’re looking around our own neighborhoods or at international headlines, many of us wonder, Where is God in the midst of suffering? How can I be a part of healing in such a hurting world? When Pastor Platt traveled to the poorest regions of the Himalayas, he wrestled with those questions too, even asking, “Is Jesus really the hope of the world after all?” David has taken risks in his life, but some say writing his latest book, Something Needs to Change might be one of his riskiest ideas yet, and I couldn’t agree more.
When I read this book? To be honest, I just have to say:
The weight of this book belies the gravity of its catalytic power for life-change.
Grippingly vulnerable, humble, and unforgettable, Platt leads you on an astonishingly transparent interior journey of his heart and mind — that profoundly changes your own.
I could not put this book down. This book is transformative, cruciform discipleship in real time.
Even as the darkness of the poor mountain villages rocked David’s beliefs, he came to a new hope and a deeper sense of calling — so, it’s an absolute privilege to warmly welcome David, who has profoundly impacted our family — even this summer, two of our sons listened to David’s books multiple times –to the farm’s front porch today…
Alone in a guesthouse at the base of the Himalayas, I found myself on my knees, face to the floor, sobbing.
Scattered around me was the evidence of my past week—a backpack, trekking poles, hiking boots.
I was fresh off a weeklong journey through some of the highest mountains in the world and only hours from a flight home to the States.
But I hadn’t planned on ending my trip with out-of-control tears.
Up to that day, I could count on one hand the number of times I’d cried in my adult life.
Yet there I was, crying uncontrollably because of what the men, women, and children I’d met the past week were missing.
Things like water, food, family members . . . freedom and hope. I so longed for them to have these things that I couldn’t help it. I fell to the floor sobbing, and the flood of tears wouldn’t stop.
Looking back on that day in the guesthouse, I wonder why being so overwhelmed for others in need has been uncommon for me.
It makes me wonder if we’ve lost our capacity to weep.
It makes me wonder if we have subtly, dangerously, and almost un-knowingly guarded our lives, our families, and even our churches from truly being affected by God’s words to us in a world of urgent spiritual and physical needs around us.
Jesus wept over those in need.
He was moved with compassion for the crowds. He lived and loved to bring healing and comfort to the broken.
He died for the sins of the world.
So why are those of us who carry His Spirit not moved and compelled in the same way?
Surely something needs to change.
But the change we need won’t happen simply by our seeing more facts or listening to more sermons.
What we need is not an explanation of the Word and the world that puts more information in our heads; we need an experience with the Word in the world that penetrates the recesses of our hearts.
We need to dare to come face to face with desperate need in the world around us and ask God to do a work deep within us that we could never manufacture, manipulate, or make happen on our own.
We need to be open to a whole new world of what God wants to do in and through our lives.
Because something needs to change.
I certainly don’t presume to know the answer to what needs to change in your life. But I believe that together we need to ask the question.
I believe we need to recognize that Jesus is indeed the ultimate hope amid all our needs.
And I hope you realize that God has designed your life to count for the spread of His hope amid the most hopeless situations in the world.
I have thought much about Proverbs 24:11–12 since I first encountered the Himalayas face to face. God says,
Rescue those being taken off to death,
and save those stumbling toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we didn’t know about this,”
won’t he who weighs hearts consider it?
Won’t he who protects your life know?
Won’t he repay a person according to his work?
These verses of Scripture make clear that God holds you and me accountable for what we know.
If you and I know that people are suffering both physically and spiritually like this, then we are accountable before God for what we do (or don’t do) in response.
God’s call is not just for the leader, pastor, or missionary. God’s call is for every one of us.
Whether you’re a teacher or a scientist, a business professional or stay-at-home parent, a student or retiree, God has created your life to count in a world of urgent need.
So don’t underestimate the part God is calling you to play, starting right where you live.
Realize that God has you where you are for a reason.
You are not in your city or community by accident. You are in your job, your school, your neighborhood, or your apartment complex with the gifts, skills, abilities, and resources you possess by divine design.
God has given you unique opportunities for the spread of gospel hope in the world around you.
I don’t know the most urgent spiritual and physical needs around you, but God does.
So ask Him,“Where are the poor, the oppressed, the orphaned, the enslaved, and ultimately the lost right around me?” Then realize God loves those men, women, and children so much that He has put you in close proximity to them.
He wants the hope of Jesus to be spread, shared, and enjoyed among them through your life.
Then realize that the effect of your life could extend far beyond where you currently live.
Open your eyes to opportunities you have to use your time, your money, and your talents to spread the gospel where it hasn’t gone and to serve people who desperately need to see and feel God’s love face to face.
Think about your life.
What unique ways can your life count for the spread of His love in the world?
What you need to know: David Platt is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, including Radical. He is lead pastor at McLean Bible Church in metro Washington, D.C., the former president of the IMB (International Mission Board), and the founder of Radical Inc., a global ministry that serves churches in accomplishing the mission of Christ.
In his newest book, Something Needs to Change, David tells of his life-changing trek among the poorest of the poor in the Himalayas.
One of things that deeply moved me about this book is how it reflects the tenderness in David’s heart—he speaks in stories, writes of tears, and asks the deepest questions of our souls.
[ Our humble thanks to Waterbrook for their partnership in today’s devotion ]