I wanted to put that first one out there to add a little humor in what I do. Because honestly (with many hard things in life and especially my job), if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.
I work with primarily at risk families. This includes many families in generational poverty, low education, young teen moms, past and current drug and alcohol abuse, past or current domestic violence, neglect or abuse on their own children – -and all of whom are in despair, even if they don’t realize why. It can be easy to be so sad to know and grow to love these families because for many circumstances in their life – you realize they probably won’t change. Don’t get me wrong – God can move where ever He wants and if he wants to bless someone in intense generational poverty with vast wealth, he’ll do it. But often, that’s not the way He works. And it is also hard for me because often I think “who cares if their child is developmentally on target or if I help them get housing or food, if their GREATEST NEED is still unmet – the need for their sins to be washed clean and know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord?”
But I have to trust God. Often – if someone is so needy in their circumstances they don’t CARE what you have to say until you show them you care. And until their basic needs are met. If you share with someone they need Jesus more than anything else, they may agree and be 100% on board or they may say “okay… but right now my baby is sick and I need $10 to get her prescription and she’s in her last diaper and we’re getting evicted tomorrow and will be out on the street with no money and no food.” They often cannot focus on heavenly things when the things of this world are such big, overwhelming problems and they take every ounce of their energy, time and thoughts.
Enter mercy. God calls us to meet people’s needs – to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, take care of the sick. We are to do all of these with the motivation of glorifying God and loving others. And so – I know that as I help people find affordable housing or start GED classes or get their baby a doctor, I can know that God can use these little things to draw people to Himself. And when I look at it like that – I am so thankful that the Lord has given me a job where I get to be in people’s messy lives and love them and show Jesus to them.