This week Chad has been out of the country. In Ecuador, to be exact, teaching indigenous pastors church history. These are pastors who are laboring to share the gospel with little or no education. Some can’t even read. Yet, they are being faithful to the calling that God placed on their lives, and Chad has become one small part of that calling by helping to equip the pastors to do the work.
Meanwhile, I am trying to stay true to the calling God has placed on my life: taking care of little human beings who look an awful lot like their temporarily absent daddy. In many ways it’s been a trying few days for my people. Emerald cried and cried the night before he left, begging him not to go, and tonight she cried again, like her heart was breaking into a million pieces, declaring through her tears that she “can’t last” until Daddy comes home. She wants him home tomorrow, and is worried that he will somehow get hopelessly lost and never find his way back.
I didn’t tell her that he has no sense of direction.
Instead, I assured her that he is with people who know exactly where they’re going, and they won’t let him get lost.
To add to Emerald’s trauma, today I was just trying to get into my mom’s car when I somehow slammed the corner of the car door right into my brow bone. Of course, it left a huge gash. Of course, I had to get stitches. I think Emerald was certain I would never recover, but here I am, beat up, but still going, wondering when my “awkward phase” is going to pass. I messaged Chad to tell him what I had done, and he wasn’t the least bit surprised.
Adelade has also shed some tears this week. Yesterday she arrived at school a little bit tear-stained, and her sweet friend took note. When we got home from dance class last night, this dear little girl arrived at our door with a gift–chocolate and a precious letter written to cheer and encourage her out of sorts friend. It was filled with words of faith and life and assurance.
As I read and re-read her incredibly wise words, I thought about how a little over a year ago, this sweet child, Adelade’s buddy, had made a profession of faith in Jesus. And, here I was, standing in our living room, looking at her words which so clearly expressed the faith that she has been living out in the past year. She was an instrument of God’s peace and compassion at eleven years old. The words she wrote were true, about God’s loving kindness, His sovereignty, His goodness.
And, I was struck by my own lack of faith. I think that I know who God will use, and then a sweet brown haired sixth grader shows up and God radiates out of her like early morning sunshine. I forgot that God has a history of using the least likely people. He has spent forever passing over “important” people in favor of the small folks. In fact, He spoke to little Samuel when grown priests slept closeby. He named a little shepherd boy the king of His people when mightier men stood ready to serve. He chose a teenaged girl to be the mother of His only son.
Why is it that I don’t tend to think that God will do enormous and miraculous things through children? Why do I insist on thinking that adults are more likely to have a clear understanding of who God is, when He obviously values the big faith that children are so good at maintaining?
When I saw that little letter from Adelade’s friend, written in big, girly print on typically bright pink paper, I had to repent for my own lack of understanding. Surely I should have learned by now that God looks not at the outward appearance, but at the heart. And there is where He begins his work, one little child, one homeless man, one stay-at-home mom, one unlikely source at a time. And, all we really have to do is sit back and watch Him do His wonders.
Adelade ate three squares of an enormous Hershey bar while she read her sweet friend’s letter. And, despite her rough day, she smiled. It was like God had infused her spirit with His hope, peace, and love, all because of one little girl who acted on the idea that the Holy Spirit surely whispered into her willing heart.
You may be young. You may be a little person in the middle of a great big world. You may be the hot shot that everyone expects to do great things for God. You may be a mama who feels invisible or a senior adult who feels tired and useless. The truth is, each and every one of us is an unlikely vessel for God’s work. Yet, every one of us can be used by Him. He is that good.
Chad is off doing amazing work for Jesus while I am checking homework and trying to learn how to open car doors safely. But, Adelade’s sweet friend reminded me that we are all capable of being used by Him. I’m grateful that he sent a darling junior high girl to minister to our family. Maybe He knew how much we all needed to remember that He looks at the heart.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7