Do you ever feel overwhelmed? I know I do.
Due to our location, God has granted us great privilege in serving many of the less fortunate. We’re just off of I-75, close to several ‘affordable’ hotels and a bus station, so we’re contacted by people who are in pretty dire circumstances–many in transition, many who have just gotten to Chattanooga and run out of money and options, many with no immediate support structure. They’re often cold, lonely, hungry and scared. Few have any short, mid, or long-term solutions.
We help as many as we can, as we hear God tell us to. But I rarely feel as though we’ve really fixed their problems. We give food, but man’s natural state is to be hungry again soon. We give them water, but they’ll be thirsty again. We’ve paid for hotel rooms, bus tickets, and even help some connect with ministries that are set up for more long-term support.
But through it all, my heart breaks. I want to erase their scars and mend their wounds. I want to rescue them from their decisions. I want to be an agent of lasting change, but so often feel as though we’ve just met a daily need and sent them on their way into their uncertainty.
But this sense of being overwhelmed always brings me back to two truths…
First, except for the fact that God is never overwhelmed, I can only imagine how much more fully and deeply Jesus feels these same things for these same people. He wants to mend their wounds, erase their scars and be THE agent of lasting change in their lives. He wants this so passionately that He came and died to give them the opportunity.
I was recently struck by something from Acts 26:17,18. I was struck by how Jesus described the ‘gentiles’ that He sent Paul to minister to. I would have described them as lecherous, idolatrous, wicked people. Jesus described them as blind and in Satan’s bondage. Jesus saw through their lives, decisions and sins and saw bound people who needed to be freed, blind people who needed to see Him.
Jesus loves these people and wants better for them than I even want. He cries for them. He chases them. He bled for them.
So, maybe we don’t fix their problems any more than Jesus has (yet!), but we can love them and show them His grace through service when given these mere moments to do so. In these small acts, maybe their eyes are opened a little, and they see Jesus, who can do all the things that we can’t.
Secondly, it’s a reminder that I should never feel overwhelmed. We’re not doing this by our own power, but by His Spirit. It’s not our resources, money, people, programs, or ministries. It’s the fully sufficient power of God at work, and He delights in using the weak to accomplish mighty things.
So, again… Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Give that area of your life to His Spirit and see what ministry He may do through it. And use even the smallest part of your life to glorify Him. When you see Him in heaven, I promise that you will be overwhelmed by the impact of those small things.