It was 2009, and I was in one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere: Haiti. I was visiting the country with a medical team, providing health care to different villages throughout the island. We traveled to a little village called Ganthier and set up the clinic. As the patients came through the clinic, I would give the children either a toy or piece of candy. A little boy stepped inside, probably 4 years old, and the sight of him made my heart ache. Sores everywhere. On his face. On his arms. On his tiny, pencil-thin legs. And under his dirty clothes. The sores were so bad on his right ear that his ear was literally about to fall off.
My heart broke.
I reached into a suitcase of toys and picked one out for him. I extended my arm, holding out the toy for the little boy to take. He looked at the toy. Then looked at me. I’ll never forget the look in his precious eyes that said, “Why are you being nice to me? Nobody wants to play with me or be around me…look at me. I have sores covering my whole body.” He then reached out, took the toy, and smiled. I motioned for him to come closer, and once he took a couple steps forward, I drew him into my arms. And I just held him.
It was 2010 and one of the stormiest nights of the year in Henderson, Tennessee. I was at home with my family, looking out the windows watching the lightning crack. I looked over the horizon of trees where my neighbors live and saw an orange red glow and clouds of gray smoke.
My mind went into immediate panic.
That night, I saw my neighbors trailer burned to the ground. All their clothes. All their beds. All their photographs. Everything but their bodies and the clothes on them was gone. My family and I started brainstorming of what we could do. We asked friends at church to donate clothes, money, food, anything. Seeing the look on my neighbors’ faces when we pulled up with those thing in our van was a memory I hope I will never forget.
One of the descriptions of the Virtuous Woman found in Proverbs 31 is that “she opens her hand to the poor and reaches her hands to the needy.”
The very CENTER of Christ’s ministry was love accompanied by action. He tells his disciples in John 13:14-15, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you.”
If Christ told us to “do just as He has done for us,” we need to take a closer look at just what he has done, so we can follow closer to Him! He fed the hungry, he helped the blind be able to see, he healed the sick, and most importantly, he forgave the sinner and loved them despite their brokenness. Now, we can’t exactly go around healing people of their physical sicknesses, but we most definitely CAN point them to the source of spiritual healing: our loving Father in heaven.
Whether you are half-way across the world in a third country or in your home town, there will ALWAYS be souls that need food, clothes, a simple hug, a word of encouragement, direction towards healing, or forgiveness and love.
This leaves us with the final question: Will we extend our hands to someone in need today?