Updated: Sep 8, 2021
What does it mean to encounter a world in need? The world is pretty big. And it isn’t exactly the friendliest place to live lately. We live in an ever-changing, sometimes frightening world. Of course, it doesn’t feel that way every day. But that doesn’t change how dramatic it feels in those moments when things just seem to overwhelm us.
So why care about the rest of the world, right? What can one person possibly do anyway? It’s too hard and there’s too much pain. You simply don’t have the time or energy to even think about it, much less do something about it.
If you’re like me, sometimes life becomes so cluttered with responsibilities and expectations that you struggle to just maintain basic everyday routines. As a method of self-protection, it’s easier to allow your focus to shrink down to include only what is required for survival.
When our lives become challenging or confusing our human nature often drives us to put our heads down, retreat, and only focus on the tasks that desperately need doing and on those in our inner circle who are calling for our immediate attention. But God has created us and gifted us for more than just survival. We were called to be a light in a dark world. We were called to share the eternal hope of the Gospel with other people who need it.
There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that you have challenges in your life. Living in this broken world is often like that. But no matter the circumstances you are living through today, I can promise you two things: First, many, many people feel the same way you do. So, you are not alone. Second, there will always be someone in the world whose circumstances are more difficult, more dire, or more urgent than your own.
The Bible talks a lot about how we should deal with the challenges we face.
In Philippians 4:6, Paul encourages believers to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” How easy it is to forget that God is always there walking beside us waiting for us to ask Him to carry us through. Note that Paul instructs us to give our anxieties, worries, and stresses over to God with thanksgiving in our hearts. When we choose to reset our minds on thanksgiving, it completely changes our outlook on whatever situation we’re facing.
Paul continues in verse 7 to say: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Peace. Wow! I don’t know about you, but I need God’s peace to guard my heart. It’s often our heart that steers our mindset and our heart and minds direct our choices and our actions.
Giving our fears, stresses, and anxieties over to God, and allowing His peace to fill us, gives us incredible freedom. It allows us to truly live for God because our focus shifts from our own pain to those around us who also need the peace and hope God freely offers.
When I take my eyes off my own struggles and refocus on Jesus I see so much more clearly because I see with His eyes instead of my own. I see a world filled with people who desperately need what I often take for granted … a God who died to save me.
I don’t believe that anyone consciously wants to take up permanent mental residence in the muck of life. We all want to grow as people, experience positive transformation in our lives and feel energized and purposeful. But there is a part of our fallen human nature that truly struggles to keep our eyes on Jesus and daily seek God’s loving plan for us. Instead, we get lost in our own inner battles and forget to surrender to a God who has offered to carry those burdens for us.
If you truly want to feel energized and purposeful, I want to encourage you today.
First, if you have not accepted Christ as your Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do that. You won’t regret surrendering your life to the God who created and loves you!
Second, read the Bible, God’s Word, and learn more about God’s plan for you. I guarantee it will change your perspective on life and on this world.
Third, resist the temptation to shrink your focus on you and your family’s minimum survival needs. Develop and maintain at least a few relationships with others outside your immediate home even if it must be virtually through a computer. Healthy relationships with people can give us great strength mentally and emotionally. Meeting with and sharing our lives with other believers is tremendously beneficial.
Fourth, I guarantee that giving of your time and resources to something outside your own basic needs can and will give you that energy and purpose you feel you may be missing. It will amaze you how much focusing on
There are so many opportunities to help people with our time and resources. It could be as simple as helping a neighbour fix something at home, talking to that person you know who is going through a tough time, or volunteering at your local church. You can even find a charity agency that moves your heart and help them change lives. Anywhere in the world where there are people in need, you can make a difference.
Helping people with physical, emotional, and spiritual needs in Ukraine and Belarus has been such an encouragement to my own life. The opportunity I continue to have to change lives has forever altered my perspective on the world and my place in it. It has become a part of my own journey. I’ve seen people living in desperate poverty. I’ve met people without indoor plumbing, with no food in the house. I’ve looked into eyes that are empty and hopeless. And I’ve seen a new light return into people’s hearts they have been fed, shown love, and introduced to Jesus.
Experiencing these things hasn’t eliminated the very real struggles of my own life, but the knowledge that I have shared something greater than myself with people who suffer more than I do has forever altered my mindset. I can survive and thrive. Not only that, I know I can show others how to do the same.