When I went on my first “mission trip” in high school I remember the team leaders reading this verse…

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27)

…and it stuck with me…but NOT in a good way.  Instead of provoking good thoughts and encouragement, and instead of me feeling like God had a reason for placing missions and children on my heart, I was MAD.

I was mad because I thought, “Surely God has gotten this wrong.  Surely God didn’t mean just to visit orphans and widows.” In my immaturity, I had somewhat convinced myself that God had messed up a bit.  That He didn’t get the full picture.  That He didn’t really mean visit orphans, but instead He really meant to write…live with or save or rescue these orphans!

But then as I got farther away from what “I” could accomplish by myself, in my own strength…and moved toward depending on Christ and living from Him…It was then that I began to understand why God used the word visit.

Because HE KNEW when you VISIT an orphan or a widow IN THEIR distress, no matter where you “return home to”  they NEVER leave you.

Their face is embedded in your mind.  Their LOVE is ingrained on your heart.  Their JOYFUL SPIRIT takes over your thoughts.  Their HOPE inspires you to action.

These orphans, their Beauty and Gentleness, make SURE that you will not return home the same.  You can’t go back to the way your life used to be because you will never forget them.  Your life is FOREVER changed.

So, this is the Burden that I have been BLESSED with.  The Burden of having the privilege of seeing Jesus in these children’s beautiful eyes.  Seeing that behind their pain, their fear, their uncertainty…there’s HOPE.  Hope because they believe in something bigger than themselves.  Their FAITH is real, it’s CONTAGIOUS, it’s as important as every breath they take. These children LOVE harder, SMILE bigger, and ENDURE more than I could have ever imagined.

So, this explains, I have been BLESSED WITH A BURDEN.  A Burden for these orphans.  A Burden from the Lord, that INSPIRES me…Everyday.