Although some of our friends supported us, others told us we were crazy to voluntarily open our home to children we’d never met.
Doubts swirled around us. What were we thinking? Could we afford it? We have three daughters. Would they be OK? Were we putting them at risk?
Despite our concerns, other questions weighed mightily as well: How do we teach selflessness to our teens, unless we model that in everyday life? What might happen if we ask them to live it out directly in their world?
After lots of prayer and family conversations, we felt certain God had asked us to welcome these children, and He would guide us through it. It took months to be trained and background-checked, but within an hour of getting approved, we agreed to our first placement.
As a result, we invited three young siblings into our home through Safe Families.
During the training process, we were intrigued by the notion of true biblical hospitality, which in the original Greek means “loving strangers.” We learned sometimes “hospitality is dangerous.” Biblical hospitality is risky because it’s inconvenient and occasionally even uncomfortable to truly love a stranger.
In the midst of these unknowns and potential risk, I’ve found encouragement seeing how Jesus boldly prayed for His followers in John 17. The night before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed this prayer:
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15, NIV).
Jesus didn’t pray for fame or wealth, safety, or even that His disciples get a pass and go directly into Heaven. Instead, He begged His Father to protect them from our enemy Satan, the “evil one.” Right here in this world.
Two of our enemy’s most powerful weapons are doubt and fear. If he can plant seeds of either in our minds, we can be dissuaded from stepping out in faith.
Jesus knew we would need “protection” — because every time we say yes to God, we step a bit further into enemy territory. Yet when we take risks for God, He’ll protect and preserve us from the evil one.
How did that play out in our scenario? We realized obedience to God doesn’t always mean knowing every step along the way, but simply taking the next one on the way. And we watched in awe as the Lord granted reassurance from our doubts about whether He would provide.
After taking in twin 6-year-old boys and their 5-year-old sister, we shared a brief request on Facebook for some hand-me-down clothes, and then were inundated by the response. Not just our neighbors and friends … people we didn’t even know wanted to be part of helping our most vulnerable children.
Clothing. Furniture. Bicycles. Medical care. All provided free-of-charge, because God brought exactly what we needed.
Amazingly, they didn’t all share the same spiritual background. Jewish friends, Muslim friends, low-faith, no-faith … all wanted to do their part. Through simple acts of kindness, the youngsters in our care knew they were tremendously valued. Evidently there’s something about Christ-followers doing what God actually wants them to do — love other people — that makes folks want to get involved. (See John 13:34-35.)
Sure, obedience can be risky. Fear and doubt is normal. And yet we have Jesus, praying for our protection. When we know God has called us, and we say “yes” to what feels scary, we’ll see God’s hand of protection in miraculous ways.
Dear Heavenly Father, guide and direct me as I seek to love strangers the way You love them. Help me take risks in this world which require Your protection from the evil one. I want to live “dangerously” for Your glory, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
by Stephanie Raquel
Stephanie Raquel is the devotions manager for Proverbs 31 Ministries. She’s had a heart for vulnerable children for decades, ever since she was the new kid in school — multiple times.
Other verses to consider tied in to this post:
1 Peter 4:8-10, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” (NLT)
Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.” (NLT)
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