During this year’s Christmas Holidays, the Lord brought a constant theme to mind through a variety of sources. As I reflected on the Christmas story from Matt 1:23, I meditated on the meaning of His coming. “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which translated, means, ‘God with us.’”
What a promise! “GOD WITH US.”
One of my dearest friends shared its meaning this way:
“Over the past three weeks at church, the message has been “God with us.” One thing that really stuck with me was when the pastor said, ‘Your greatest burden is like a gift to God,’ because He loves us so much and wants to take care of us.
I recently took my family to see the newest episode of Star Wars. If you’ve seen other Star Wars movies, you know that they all begin the same way, with a bunch of words scrolling up the screen. Well, this one is no different. Now my seven year old son has seen all of the Star Wars movies…probably 2-3 times. So he is very familiar with the fact that there are going to be a bunch of words scrolling up. As soon as they start to scroll, in a panic, he grabs me and whispers into my ear, ‘Dad, please read the words to me!’ You should have heard the panic in his voice because he knew once the words were off the screen there was no rewinding…no going back. As I read the words to him, this wave of great feeling came over me. I was so happy that I could help him through his current burden. That feeling of being needed and being able to help is almost indescribable. That’s when it hit me: ’Your greatest burden is like a gift!’ God wants you to call on Him. It brings Him great satisfaction that you are relying on Him to help you through your burdens! Yes, this was a seven year old’s burden. But I hope that when he is 27, he still calls me for advice on any burden he may have.”
That’s what God the Father wants for us too. He is with us, but He wants us to call upon Him. He not only came to save us from our sins, but He came to be with us to show us what God the Father is like.
I received Christ as my savior 44 years ago, and I can’t begin to tell you all the different ways He has been with me during that time. He has been with me when I felt alone and needed a friend; when I was sick and need healing; when I was wondering and needed direction; when I didn’t know what to do and needed counsel; when I offended my friends and loved ones and needed forgiveness; when I was broke and needed provision; when I was weak, wanted to give up and needed strength; when I lost a loved one and needed comfort; when I was proud and needed to be humbled. You get the point.
But the real truth is this: He is always with us, because of His abiding, constant presence in us…not just when we need Him, but even when we forget our need for Him. Because He promises that He will NEVER leave us nor forsake us. What a gift!
Now let’s apply this truth to our role as child sponsors. Just as the Father views our needs as a gift when we bring them to Him, we need to view the needs of the child we sponsor as a gift. It’s a gift to you because you are given the opportunity to reflect the image of the Father to that child…to demonstrate the truth of the gospel that God is always with us by being with them through whatever they are going through; that we will never abandon them or quit caring for them. Child sponsorship is never a burden. Being a child sponsor is always a gift…not just a gift to the child, but a gift to the child sponsor!
– Lyndon Becker
President & CEO of Project Hope Worldwide