(March 14, 2022) Hope Flinchbaugh writes most sincerely about human needs and, in this introduction to a special series, brings a challenge to us all…
I’m beginning this series by reminding us of the introduction of the book of a challenged-to-action servant of God, Nehemiah…
Nehemiah 1:2a-11b Message Bible
I asked them about the conditions among the Jews there who had survived the exile, and about Jerusalem.
They told me, ‘The exile survivors who are left there in the province are in bad shape. Conditions are appalling. The wall of Jerusalem is still rubble; the city gates are still cinders.’
When I heard this, I sat down and wept. I mourned for days, fasting, and praying before the God-of-Heaven.
I said, ‘God, God-of-Heaven, the great and awesome God, loyal to His covenant and faithful to those who love Him and obey His commands: Look at me, listen to me. Pay attention to this prayer of your servant that I’m praying day and night in intercession for your servants, the People of Israel, confessing the sins of the People of Israel. And I’m including myself, I and my ancestors, among those who have sinned against you.
‘We’ve treated you like dirt: We haven’t done what you told us, haven’t followed your commands, and haven’t respected the decisions you gave to Moses your servant. All the same, remember the warning you posted to your servant Moses: “If you betray me, I’ll scatter you to the four winds, but if you come back to me and do what I tell you, I’ll gather up all these scattered peoples from wherever they ended up and put them back in the place I chose to mark with my name.”
‘Well, there they are – your servants, your people whom you so powerfully and impressively redeemed. O Master, listen to me, listen to your servant’s prayer – and yes, to all your servants who delight in honoring you – and make me successful today so that I get what I want from the king.’
The call to the wall – the first step of leadership
What about you? Is God asking you to some wall, to do the impossible?
If you can identify with the call of God on your life to help the hurting, repair broken hearts, or rebuild broken lives, then this blog post series is for you.
- Perhaps your scope of reality is even broader in reach.
- Is God is calling you like the Old Testament governor, Nehemiah, to restore or rebuild an entire people group, region, or nation? Be encouraged!
- It is the mature Christian who looks beyond his or her own activities and needs and sees beyond to the world that is hurting.
- New Christians will engage themselves in what I call ‘navel gazing.’
This is when we look inward at our faults or our triumphs; we spend so much of our concentration on these self-negatives or self-positives that we get to the point where all we think about is me, me, me!
Depending on the person and their individual circumstances, such navel gazing can lead the Christian into pride for his or her accomplishments or depression for failures. Mature Christians will quickly see when they are falling into self-absorption and quickly disengage themselves from navel gazing.
They will turn their eyes heavenward to recognise the true burden of the Lord and willingly immerse themselves in intercession, fasting, and weeping for a burden that God has placed on their shoulders – even when they don’t have time to take on one more thing.
Our Lord’s yoke is easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:30). Let me share this story to illustrate…
Challenged by God
One day the Lord spoke to my heart to help little orphan babies that I saw on a television documentary. Infants were lying about on the concrete floor in a back room of an orphanage in China – they looked like so many scattered rugs with no one to care for them, no blankets to comfort them.
Their little bottoms were wrapped in plastic or in rags and the television cameras revealed that these infants had sores all over their faces and bodies.
The few that had bottles had no strength to hold them and, because no adult was present in ‘the dying room,’ milk or formula of some sort lay putrid and rotting in bottles beside their little heads.
I gasped. I had a two-year-old and an infant and could not imagine either of them lying in such neglect. I thought, What can I do to help these babies?
I thought of Nehemiah praying for an answer from his king (that scripture above). I too prayed, most sincerely for an answer, but to my king… King Jesus!
Learning of Chinese mothers’ dilemmas
One year later I watched a documentary by British Broadcasting Company (BBC) which again depicted the dying rooms in the state-run orphanages in China.
Even in the 21st century, couples in China are allowed only one child or they are fined or forced to abort by the government. And the majority of couples want a boy because in Chinese culture the son takes care of his parents in their old age!
Most of these babies on the television screen were girls or handicapped boys that parents dropped off at the orphanage or a bus station, train station, or marketplace because they wanted (and indeed felt they needed) their only legal child to be a healthy boy.
These courageous Chinese mothers refused abortions and had their second child in secret so that their baby could live.
Frightened by their own government’s retribution for bearing more than one child, these mothers or fathers dropped off their baby girl or their second born son in cardboard boxes sometimes with a blanket, bottle, and note in hopes that their baby could live a good life and not suffer for being born a girl or being born second in birth order.
Touched – and challenged – by God
My heart was glued to the pictures in front of me – the reception in this orphanage was anything but good. I touched my protruding abdomen. I was pregnant with my third child – a daughter. And no one was going to take her from me.
Deeply moved, my eyes couldn’t leave the scenes before me. ‘Lord, somebody needs to do something about this,’ I whispered.
‘Why don’t you do something about this?’ the Lord replied.
Me? How can I possibly help babies in China when I live in America and I’m pregnant with my third child?
In my next blog, I want to share a bit more of my journey in taking on the burden of the Lord for China’s orphans.
What about you?
Has God directed you to look into the needs of a broken people?
Take courage! With God, nothing is impossible!
Hope Flinchbaugh was recently hired by American Christian Schools International
to write early elementary, decodable phonics readers for the ACSI language arts department. She is also editor-in-chief of Hope Editors, a team of content editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, interior designers, book cover designers, and ghostwriters who help publishers and authors polish their books and meet their deadlines. Hope has also written three historical fiction novels and two nonfiction books.
Her love for children is evident in her delightful Baby Babbles series… available from Amazon Author Page or International Orders Hereand her I Come to the Garden Alone is an inspiring daily devotions booklet. Link: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com