Home. After 8 days in a foreign country it was nice to arrive back to familiar scenery, language and faces. How blessed I am to be able to come home where I have a beautiful wife and two kids and a house where I belong. I have truly been given way more than I deserve. Home is a refuge and an anchor for me. Even when I might be worn out, sweaty, and tired when I am away, I know I have a place to return. But what about those orphans that we met last Wednesday who have never really known a home or a family? What about those people along the river who are held captive by poverty and have a few pieces of sheet metal for a home and their only possession is a hammock? What about the lady who came up to us begging for money with leather-like skin aged from many hard and cruel years. These people have no comfort or oasis to return to. The life we observed them having is their life and there is no other right now.
In Hebrews 13:3 it says "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." The challenge to me and you is when we encounter people who are in misery and suffering, that we are to remember them and seek to identify with their pain and misery. It's tempting to distance myself from them and their pain and place my encounters with them in a photo album to be retired upon a shelf. But that is not the right response. Their pain should affect me. It should drive me to pray for them. It should drive me to do whatever I can to help them and to not forget them. It should drive me to be a voice for them and people like them so that maybe through God's presence and through material blessings they might get to taste a little bit of comfort and love in the midst of suffering.