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You see them as worth dying for, so why don’t I?

Loving on these kids has been far more challenging than I expected. I knew that I would be doing ministry with street children, but I clearly was not aware of what all that would entail. The past couple of weeks, the Lord has called me to love in a way that I have not had to do before. Through this, He has shown me how immeasurably perfect His love is for us.

We pick up our kids in the mornings covered in dirt from sleeping on the ground, trash from digging for food, and feces from not being cleaned. They have open and infected wounds all over their frail bodies, lice in their unbrushed hair, and deep coughs accompanied by fevers up to 104 degrees. Some come without pants or a shirt and almost all come without shoes. Despite all these things that I’m really not used to, Jesus calls me to love them, and love them well. In His deep and perfect love, He touched the man with leprosy when others kept a distance. His warm touch offered healing to the sick man (Matthew 8:1-4). My heart throbs to be more like Jesus in this way. Most natives would consider these street kids a nuisance, dirty and unworthy of love. I want to be able to offer these kids healing through hugs and kisses and laughter. But I cannot do that if I retreat from them, fearful of contracting their illnesses. I wish I could say this has been easy for me to do, but in all honesty, it has been very challenging.

Of all the kids, Sokhem has challenged me the most to practice loving like Christ in this unfamiliar way. She is probably the most unclean of the kids and, at the same time, the most clingy and intrusive. But Jesus sees her as worthy enough to die for, so why don’t I? Jesus wants to touch her and offer healing, so why don’t I? The first couple of days, I actually felt myself intentionally distancing myself from her. I knew this was not of God and I really did not want to feel this way, so I asked the Lord to transform my heart and mind and to give me the compassionate eyes of the Father. He radically changed my perspective and graciously revealed to me that the way Sockhem interacts with us is the way He desires us to interact with Him.

Sockhem boldly comes to us without feeling as though she must clean up first. She humbly admits her dependence on us to feed and nourish her body. She clings to us, advancing at any opportunity our arms or shoulders are free. She finds comfort in us, resting on our lap as she finds peace after a night of begging. She’s curious about us. She trusts us.

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.” Hebrews 4:14-16

This is how we were designed to do relationship with our Heavenly Father! Just as we get in a truck to pick up Sockhem off the street in the mornings, God meets us where we are in His daily pursuit. As we rejoice when Sockhem chooses to jump in the truck so that we can take her to our site where we know she’ll be fed, healed, and loved, the Lord rejoices when we choose to follow Him so that He can lead us to a place where we are fed, healed, and loved. Although we’re covered in the muck of our sin, He carries no spirit of condemnation for us to feel as though we have to clean up before jumping in His arms. He takes us as we are and gives us affection without hesitation. But just as we love Sockhem too much to not bathe her, Jesus loves us too much to leave us in our sin. He mercifully washes us in His blood and clothes us in robes of white. He is our Prince of Peace, the One in whom we find abundant comfort. He is the Genius of heaven and of earth, the One in whom we inquire. In His presence, there is freedom to be all that He has called us to be.

“Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God’s presence, assured of his glad welcome.” Ephesians 3:12

I still don’t always do it right. There are moments I choose to retreat from the kids rather than lavish love on them. But I’m learning to see them as Jesus sees them and to love them as He does. They are beautiful children of God and I seek to be like them in my relationship with the Lord, confident to call Him, “Father, dear Father.”

“So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family – calling him ‘Father, dear Father.'” Romans 8:15

Lord, you deeply desire an intimate relationship with us and we deeply long for a Savior to make us whole. May we be more like Sockhem as we boldly approach your throne. There is nothing too hard for you to redeem and no one too sinful for you to love. Your perfect love casts out all fear and in you we find rest. Thank you that even though our love wavers, you are constant. May we become more like you everyday and in every way! Amen.

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