"Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it. But I'm afraid He would ask me the same question." Anonymous
It was a cold wintery night in downtown Chicago and I was walking to my hotel completely stuffed from the ridiculously sized meal I had just eaten at The Cheesecake Factory. Despite my full stomach, I was still carrying with me a large bag of leftovers from the restaurant just in case I got hungry again later on.
Somewhere along the way back to my room, I passed a homeless family huddled together on the sidewalk begging for food. I glanced at them for a short bit but made sure it wasn’t long enough to make any real eye contact. I was, of course, saddened by their situation, but I kept on walking. Being a “good” Christian, I did, at least, pray that God would bring them the help they needed.
When I arrived back to my warm room and was putting away the take-home bag of leftovers in the fridge, God convicted me of what had just taken place on the cold and snowy streets of Chicago He didn’t convict me of anything I’d done, but of what I didn't do. He didn't condone my prayer, but my inability to act on it. You see, here I was praying to God that this family would be provided with what they needed, while I was carrying that very thing in my hands. I was praying for the needs of someone that I absolutely had the ability to meet.
When it comes to praying for the needs of others, I know that we often rationalize our inability to act on someone’s behalf by saying it's not our responsibility or that someone else will take care of it. But we must learn to be open to the possibility that we might be the answer to the very thing and person we are praying for!
Matthew 25:34-40 The Message (MSG)
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’