Something Needs to Change


I recall very few instances when other Christians and I have wept together for people who were missing water, food, family, freedom or hope. Why is a scene like that so uncommon?

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” Luke 6:46 (ESV)

Alone in a guesthouse at the base of the Himalayas, I found myself on my knees, face to the floor, sobbing. Scattered around me was the evidence of my past week — a backpack, trekking poles, hiking boots.

I was fresh off a weeklong journey through some of the highest mountains in the world and only hours from a flight home to the States. But I hadn’t planned on ending my trip with out-of-control tears. Up to that day, I could count on one hand the number of times I’d cried in my adult life. The last time was when my dad died.

But this time I wasn’t weeping because of what I was missing. Instead, I was crying because of what others — men, women and children I’d met the previous week — were missing.

Things like water, food, family members … freedom and hope in Jesus. I so longed for them to have these things that I fell to the floor sobbing, and the flood of tears wouldn’t stop.

Looking back on that day, I wonder why being so overwhelmed for others in need has been uncommon for me. I think of all the church services I’ve been in, talking and hearing about the needs of people all over the world. I think of all the sermons I’ve preached about serving those in need. So why has it been rare for me to fall on my face before God and weep for others?

This question isn’t just for me. I recall very few instances when other Christians and I have wept together for people who were missing water, food, family, freedom or hope. Why is a scene like that so uncommon?

It makes me wonder if we’ve lost our capacity to weep. It makes me wonder if we have subtly, dangerously and almost unknowingly guarded our lives, our families, and even our churches from truly being affected by the world of urgent spiritual and physical needs around us.

Today, why do we seem to be so far from the way of Jesus?

Jesus wept over those in need. He was moved with compassion for the crowds. He lived and loved to bring healing and comfort to the broken. He died for the sins of the world. So why are those of us who carry the Holy Spirit not moved and compelled in the same way?

Jesus even challenged His followers with this question, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46).

Surely God didn’t design the gospel of Jesus to be confined to our minds and mouths in the church. Surely something needs to change. But how?

When I found myself face-first on that guesthouse floor, it wasn’t because I’d heard a new fact about suffering in the world or even made a new discovery in God’s Word. On the long flight to Asia, I had actually written an entire sermon on poverty and oppression, complete with staggering numbers concerning the poor and oppressed in the world today. But I had written it from an emotionally well-guarded, frighteningly cold-hearted perspective.

Somehow, staring at statistics on poverty and even studying the Bible had left my soul unscathed. But when I came face-to-face with men, women and children in urgent spiritual and physical need, the wall in my heart was breached. And I wept.

Clearly, the change we need won’t happen simply by seeing more facts or listening to more sermons. What we need is not an explanation of the Word and the world, putting more information in our heads; we need an experience with the Word in the world that will penetrate the recesses of our hearts.

We need to dare to come face-to-face with desperate need in the world around us and ask God to do a work deep within us that we could never manufacture, manipulate or make happen on our own.

 This is my prayer for me. And for you … if you are ready for things to change.

Lord, today and every day, I want my heart to break over what breaks Yours. Breach the wall of my heart and give me an overwhelming compassion for the poor and oppressed — not only in my world but in remote corners of the globe. Please transform my knowledge of injustice into heart-stirred action. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Psalm 90:17, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (ESV)

David Platt shares his soul-searching journey in the Himalayas in his new release, Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need, available here. With riveting passion and vulnerability, David dares us all to make a difference in a world of urgent need, starting right where we live.

For more resources from David Platt and Radical, visit David at radical.net.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Something Needs to Change by David Platt. To celebrate this book, WaterBrook & Multnomah is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and notify each one in the comments section by Monday, September 30, 2019.}

What opportunities exist around you right now to come face-to-face with desperate need in the world, whether in your corner or across the globe? What’s one step you can take today to encounter that need and start developing a heart like God’s?

© 2019 by David Platt. All rights reserved.

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