By Emily Plezia
About a year and a half ago, we moved to a new town. A tiny mountain town, far away from civilization and lacking in most of the modern conveniences my family had become accustomed to. And as luck would have it, we moved right at the end of the most severe winter the residents had ever experienced. In some areas, the snow drifted and piled as tall as the buildings downtown!
Here’s where the story begins. A few weeks after the move, I dropped my youngest off at preschool. Two blocks down the snowy dirt road, I lost control of the van. Spinning off the road, I landed at a 45-degree angle in the ditch.
I don’t know what happened.
One second I was horizontal and safe. The next, I was going nowhere in a car that was, well, diagonal. Thankfully I was able to get out of the car (do you know how heavy those car doors can be when you’re pushing up on them rather than out?) and return to the preschool, where one of the children’s parents offered me a ride home.
I called for a tow truck and waited for him to arrive. Did I mention the towing company was on the other side of the mountains? It took him two hours to get to me. One of those modern conveniences we were far from.
At long last, the driver arrived to rescue me and my van.
When I apologized for the long drive, he cheerfully responded, “Oh, I’ve had to go further for people who’ve locked their keys in the car!” I felt a little better. At least this wasn’t my fault (or at least I don’t think it was). About ten minutes later, my van was back on the road in its rightful position, and I was free to go about my day.
As I drove away, I became acutely aware of this: there is great value having resources and knowing who to call when I need help. Sure, my morning made a dramatic shift, but nothing unrecoverable. What about people who have no one to help them or don’t know where to go for help?
I felt convicted. How many times have I chosen to look away from someone else’s need?
How many people in my community and around the world would be free if I were willing to see their need and help? Yes, I cannot account for a person’s poor choices which end with negative consequences. But we can still respond with love and compassion.
I’ve become passionate about helping children, because they usually end up suffering the most in distressing situations. Whether it’s a result of someone’s choices or just because of where they were born.
In 2018, over 437,000 children were registered in the foster care system in the US. And 650 million people around the world lived on less than $1.90 each day. What have these children done to deserve their poor circumstances? These children find themselves feeling hopeless, even worthless. But when someone steps in and shows them the love of Jesus, unlimited potential can be unlocked.
I know you’re just one person. But just as I had someone rescue me from my physical, side-of-the-road ditch, you can help rescue someone from theirs.
As a follower of Jesus, you are meant to be a part of His great rescue plan (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). Contrary to a popular Christian song, God doesn’t rescue us so we can just sing about it, He rescues us so that we can set others free from the bondage of sin and death. And we have so many opportunities available to do just that:
- Share the Gospel with people you come in contact with. Sharing the gospel means so much more than just asking, “do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.” The gospel message can come in the form of a warm meal, a thoughtful conversation, or a word of encouragement in a time of need. Keep your eyes open to the needs of hurting people around you! Donate to your local Gospel Rescue Mission or homeless shelter.
- If you’re ready to dive deep, open your home to foster or adopt a child who needs a family. If you’re not equipped or prepared for that type of commitment, come alongside others who are! You can become a respite provider, a CASA volunteer, a Big Brother/Big Sister, or even a classroom volunteer at your local school.
- For a global impact, consider sponsoring a child from another country. Your words of encouragement as your relationship develops can be a lifeline for a child who feels invisible. Sharing the love of Jesus can affect entire families, even communities.
You may be the instrument that God uses to answer someone’s prayers and rescue them from Satan’s snare. Why not start today?
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” Col 1:13, NKJV
Emily is a child advocate for Compassion International and lives in rural Montana with her husband, Armin, her three children, and her dog.