“Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it.”
“Well, why don’t you ask Him?”
“Because I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.”
(quote from the Irresistible Revolution)
Adam and I often get asked what started us down the path to inner-city ministry. Why in the world would we CHOOSE to go into places where it's not safe? Where there's violence and drug deals? guns and prostitutes?
And to be honest, sometimes I ask myself the same questions.
(But then I remember ALL the stories in the Bible and, you know, the fact that these people are EXACTLY who Jesus would hang out with)
That said, I didn't always have a heart that understood how I should want to be where Jesus went. Looking back, it's easy to see God guiding our steps and leading us in that direction. But in the midst of it all, things weren't nearly so clear. I remember feeling stirrings in my deepest heart that there must be more. That Christianity surely was deeper than going to church and tithing and being a good person. Where was the abundant life?
And then I read The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. And it laid me out. Flat-out blew me away. I mean, the life that Shane is living (check out thesimpleway.org) is pretty revolutionary. And I'm not saying I'm agreeing with every word he says, but I am saying that his book literally changed my life. All of a sudden I heard this voice whispering in my ear, asking me daily "but what if Jesus actually MEANT every word He said?"
"What if we really are supposed to lay down our life?"
"What if the last are really going to be first?"
"What if we really are loving Christ by loving the "least of these'?"
"What if God really does care about the plight of the fatherless and the widows? And what if He expects His people to do something about it?"
I felt like I couldn't go on living the same way. So Adam and I worked at a summer camp for inner-city kids (a job which kind of just fell into our laps in God's oh so creative way) and once we recognize the need of our neighbors, we simply could not ignore it any longer.
Long story short (or maybe not exactly SHORT, I never claimed to be concise), Adam and I have been having our hearts become more and more inclined towards the people in the city of Atlanta. People who are often ignored, forgotten, overlooked. People who Jesus loves very much.
But lately, I've been feeling a little discouraged with it all. Don't get me wrong, I still love it. But it's hard. And most of these people? They dont even want to change. I was wondering (this is embarrassing to even admit) why it even matters if our twelve year old girls start having kids and live on welfare the rest of their lives. That's what they want, after all.
And then I read the Compassion Bloggers stories from India. And I was reminded of Christ's heart and how broken it is for those who live on the margins. Those who are suffering. Those who are poor and weak. And I remembered that just because we want something for ourselves, doesn't mean that's what is best for us.
So regardless of how hard it can be, regardless of how little change I see, I will keep loving and keep serving my kiddos. Because Jesus loves them. And that's enough reason for me to love them too.