By Debbie Johnson
Yesterday, I started reading Half the Sky - a book about women in developing countries who courageously face their persecutors or start businesses to lift their families out of poverty—inspiring.
This morning, I crept downstairs in the early dawn for a quiet cup of coffee. I watched twenty deer silently walking through fresh dew in the half-light—inspiring.
Today, I want to be inspired by God at every turn. More than that, I need to be inspired. As the leader of a ministry who serves the poor and desperate of India, I can’t go it alone. I need God’s inspiration, guidance and Spirit-breathed power to do my work. Perhaps my favorite definition of inspiration is “inhalation.” Breathing in God.
In India, street children scavenging for food in the garbage is a familiar sight. Many don’t go home in the evening; some due to fear of alcoholic fathers, others because they have no place to go. They survive by petty thievery or begging—or get pulled into drug cartels. They spend nights on sidewalks or in roadside construction pipes. They spend their lives fighting to survive.
In 1997, while traveling in India, our Founder heard the cries of young mothers begging him to take away their children. He later learned that a group was kidnapping these children to offer as sacrifices to an unknown goddess. This broke his heart, leading him to begin homes for orphaned and abandoned children across India.
But it didn’t stop with the children. We also serve the women of India, most of who have been abandoned by their husbands and left to beg. I could go on with grim statistics, but, as hard as it may be to imagine, there is much good news! Our work is making a difference in the lives of these women and children—orphans and widows—as we care for their needs and provide places to worship.
People helping each other - inspiring.
We so often dwell on the negative—worrying over our own children, having too much to do, dealing with disagreeable relationships, struggling with regret or fear. Don’t get me wrong, we need to deal with these realities, but might we be missing the inspiration? It’s easy to get into this “looking down” habit rather than a “looking around” habit—seeing God at every turn, celebrating answered prayers, breathing him in.
When the poor of India hear of Jesus, they are never the same. Millions have been raised to believe they are lower than animals, but hearing that they are made in God’s image and loved by him is transformational. You should see their beaming faces! Inspiration takes on new meaning when we are able to see things through their eyes.
I want that kind of inspiration. I want the “looking around” habit. I want to be inspired to love greatly, whether my tasks are big or small. And, truly, most of my tasks are small and invisible and surely not glamorous, but even so—I can still live an inspired life.
Today I will watch for God and breathe him in.
Debbie Johnson is the Executive Director of United Evangelical Mission International (UEMI). In India, UEMI has 15 children's homes, a school in Bangalore, women's programs, and a church planting division.