It only takes a whisper

I’ve often wondered why we try to save the lives of African babies, Haitian children, or even disease-ridden, poverty-stricken adults, when there’s little for them to live for. They live in dreadful countries, racked with poverty, AIDS, polluted water, crop failures, tribal warfare, religious fanatics and cruel, mad leaders. Many children will be forced to kill or be killed, and others face rape, genital mutilation, amputations and never-ending fear. It’s a tough thing to say, but aren’t these people better off dead? Better dead than a life of endless misery, surely?

What, then, stirs Christians to seek out these people, even those they know have no hope of a normal life, to help them? What possible purpose can there be in trying to save a life that has nothing but misery and suffering ahead? There’s the obvious response “while there’s life there’s hope,” yes, but it has to be more than hope driving Christians because for many of the people they’re trying to help there is no hope.

Love is the driving force, and while there’s still life in a person, giving him and showing him love is all that matters. It could only be a few moments of love for a dying baby, but to hold that child and try to seep into that child’s mind just a whisper of God’s love is enough. Why? Because that’s the first and greatest step toward their eternity; it’s knowing God loves them (1 John 4:19). No matter, therefore, how small or brief the touch of God’s love is, there is nothing more important in a human life than that.

But what about children and adults who are so damaged they’re impossible to reach? Why bother trying to work with a child who’s been so abused, so brainwashed and so mangled by his culture that he’s become reclusive, unresponsive or uncontrollable? Why try to show God’s love when a person can’t respond to it? What possible impact can God’s love have in a situation like that?

But to a Christian that doesn’t matter, because salvation begins at the same place for everyone. It always begins with God’s love. It is only because of God’s love for us that we love him. Who knows, therefore, how much of God’s love a person understands? Who knows how much God is helping them understand his love too, where to our eyes it looks like nothing is happening?

And how else does God show his love? For now it’s through his people, scattered throughout the Earth seeking out the dark places, because they know it only takes a whisper of his love to put a person on course for eternity.

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