Change of Plans

Published by Christy Johnson on

Too much of our faith is just theory until we put it into practice. We can listen to God’s word and even agree with it, but until we obey – not much has actually changed in our hearts. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus instructs His followers on the importance of not just hearing His words, but obeying as well:

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”

Matthew 7:24-25 ESV

Later on in Matthew’s account of the Gospel, Jesus continues:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

Matthew 25:34-35 ESV

As we prepared for hosting an orphan from Ukraine over the summer, it was exciting to finally being “doing” something in response to Jesus’ call to care for the poor, instead of just talking about it or being unsure of how to obey. We rapidly completed all the required paperwork and started to prepare our hearts to receive this needy teenager into our home for the summer. As I look over my journal during that time, I see a mix of emotions… excitement, fear of the unknowns (language, culture, logistics), and realization that hosting would mean sacrificing some (or lots) of the convenience and comfort that I have grown accustomed to. But as we prayed for this girl, we found our love for her growing as well.

A Closed Door

About a week after completing our paperwork we received word that, due to COVID restrictions, the older children would not be able to travel for the summer hosting season. We looked through the remaining options of younger children to host, but none seemed like the right fit given the ages and interests of the available kids. Matthew and I took a walk together around the block while my mom watched the kids and prayed… “God, do you want us to host any of these children?” We clearly felt the answer was no.

That evening, I watched on the Facebook page as the deadline for children to be placed with families passed. It was really disappointing, since it seemed like the door had closed. What was God was trying to teach us through this experience? Perhaps it was just to open our hearts to sharing our home with the needy? It seemed like everything hadn’t died, though. God had used this unexpected opportunity to fan a smoldering desire that was deep in our hearts into something we could see and touch. Having taken a step forward, going back to how we were weeks earlier didn’t feel like an option.