I was watching the Weather Channel with my youngest daughter a few days ago. A clip came on about the devastating floods in Pakistan, and the commentator remarked how upset so many people were because they had lost all of their loved ones. Without missing a beat, my daughter said, "No they haven't. God loves them. I want to go over there and tell them that right now."
The day after this, I was going through a box of books and preparing for our upcoming school year. We are a homeschooling family, and sometimes I like to go through old planners from years past to remember all that we have done. I flipped the book open and came to a page from three years ago where I had written the name of a book we had read together. It was a true story about a Japanese girl in the early 1950s who was dying because of radiation from the atomic bomb. She and her friends were making origami paper cranes as good luck charms with the hope that she would get better when they reached 1,000. My handwritten comments next to the title of the book were that Stella wants to go to Japan and tell them the truth, that the paper cranes will not work, but they need to know Jesus.
What a tender heart. I don't think it is any small coincidence that seeing the flooding in Pakistan and finding that old planner happened one day apart. I had been preparing for the school year that week. I often read my children stories about courageous Christians throughout the world, and I had gotten a new book to use when we pray, especially for people in countries where Jesus is not well known. Because of much exposure to these things, it should be no surprise that Stella would say the things she did.
I have prayed that my children would have a heart for the things of God. I have prayed that they would obey the Lord willingly. And from the moment I knew the Lord wanted us to home school 11 years ago, it was very clear to me that He wanted me to prepare my children for missions. So why am I so amazed at Stella's desires? Is it because this child can be adorable one moment, and then five seconds later she is provoking her sister or shouting in her brother's face? Is it because she cannot sit still for three minutes to work on a few math problems? Is it because, like her mother, she is so far from perfect?
We are so inadequate, and it is only by His spirit that anything can be accomplished. Oh, but what the Lord can do with a willing heart that is connected to His desires. If we could do anything on our own, that would leave no room for God to get the glory. In John 15:5, Jesus says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing."
When Jesus said, "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19-20), He was not making a nice suggestion. It is not an option. It is a command to be obeyed. Yet, how often do we think that is for "someone else?" I don't know when or where, but obedience to the Lord means this is on the agenda sometime in the future.
As I finalize plans for this school year, I will intend to cover multiplication facts and cursive with Stella. We'll read about more brave Christians and pray for more people who need to know Jesus. And maybe we'll get her a passport. Just in case.
Lisa Jisa and her family have been residents of Ahwatukee Foothills since 2000. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.