Many things have changed in South Africa in the last 13 years since apartheid was abolished. It's a new day, new season in many ways. And yet, I notice so many have a "downtrodden" spirit. You can feel it. It has grieved and saddened me. I've prayed and asked the Lord what I can do about it. It seems like such a big, overwhelming need.
The Lord has been challenging me to respond by encouraging and loving one person at a time. A smile, a kind word, an encouragement, an affirmation.......all can bless. It seems like such a small thing for a giant need. But I've realized if I'll do my part, then God can use it and do things I can't do. My small acts of kindness can begin to chip away and break down big walls of hurt, pain, anger, bitterness, and low self-esteem. It's what I can do. I can't change the past, but the seeds I sow now can affect the future.
I had a sweet, practical example of this a few days ago. I was sitting on a bench next to a lady. I could just feel her heavy spirit. My heart ached to reach out to her in some loving way. I looked over and smiled.......and noticed she was wearing a pretty wooden necklace. I told her how lovely it was. In response, she frowned and actually glared at me. I wasn't sure what else to do, so I sat there praying. A few minutes later she looked at me and smiled, and said, "You know I made it myself!" I immediately began to tell her how wonderful that was......how I can't do things like that.......and how I admired people with the ability to work with their hands. She told me how she'd seen one in a store, but it was too expensive. She went looking, found the beads, and made one. We talked for a few minutes, then she went on her way smiling.......with her step a little lighter!
It's just a small thing, but I have a feeling it's a big thing too. If enough people love in these small ways, it'll bring big change. I want to do my part! I ask the Lord daily now for sensitivity to His spirit to encourage those I come in contact with. I was thinking recently of a song we used to sing in church when I was growing up - "little is much when God is in it." I believe that's very true!
God created the universe by speaking things into existence. We can create good things in our world with our words too!
"A word in season, how good it is!" Proverbs 15:23