(Photo Credit: Paige Steele)
Isaiah’s prophecy to the Israelites should inspire us today, because it uncovers a weighty spiritual truth: God promises spiritual blessings to those who serve the suffering and oppressed.
Some of the richest blessings of life are experienced intangibly. It is impossible to quantify the joy that swells up within us as we humbly serve those in need. We don’t serve because we are in search of blessings. Our service is driven by a calling to demonstrate the love of Jesus. However, by God’s grace, and as a far-reaching dividend, Scripture says that we are extravagantly blessed with light, healing and pleasure when we serve those who are vulnerable.
In Isaiah 58:10-11, the prophet paints a beautiful picture of the blessings that emerge when we “spend ourselves” in service: “If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
This has been illustrated for me in recent weeks by Paige Steele, a delightful young American woman who is serving at Hope Haven Rwanda. Paige has been an encouragement to many of us, but, as you can see from her own words in a recent note, she has also experienced some of the profoundest blessings imaginable:
“My first week here was nothing short of incredible. I’ve gotten to know a lot of the amazing people that work here and have even learned some Kinyarwanda phrases and learned to play African checkers! I’ve spent my free time in the classrooms and playing with the kids during breaks. I really enjoy getting to know them! A little girl whispered in my ear, “I love you,” a few days ago on the playground and I thought “Yep, you’re coming home with me.” Only kidding! But it was the sweetest thing ever.
Walking around the village and seeing the children running around in tattered clothes and distended bellies has really made me grateful for what God has done with bringing Hope Haven to this village. It truly is a haven. I can’t help but assume that the students here would be in a similar situation as these other children if it weren’t for Hope Haven being here. I’ve gotten teary-eyed several times when I reflect on this and I just can’t thank you guys enough for heeding God’s call in what you’ve started here and continue to grow to be able to help more kids and more families.
Hope Haven really is the most special place. I can feel God here every single day and I see His face in the faces of the workers and kids, and I can’t thank you enough for allowing me and others to be a part of this. I know I’ll be changed for the better because of it. Thank you all again from the bottom of my heart for what you do and for letting me come and serve here.”
I thank God for people like Paige Steele, who are actively reflecting the love of Jesus in Rwanda. She is “spending herself” in service—and discovering that Jesus is worth it!