By Brad Phillips
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:1-12
King David was a man who had his share of good times and bad times. But even in the bad times, David could pen a Psalm like 103.
David’s trials eventually ended for him…but his Psalm endures to this day, bringing comfort to the depressed and the oppressed.
With the close of 2016, we are entering the 20th year since I conceived the idea to start PPF. Twenty years. Wow. It’s hard to believe.
When facing a milestone like this, it’s normal to look back and ask sober questions, like “Has it all been worth it?” “What have we really accomplished?” “Are things any better?” “Have we made a difference?”
Well, let’s just consider the overall situation in Sudan and South Sudan:
Sure, with South Sudan’s separation, there has been an increase in religious freedom for those living in the world’s newest country.
But has lasting peace made any significant progress in either country? Not really.
Has the level of poverty been significantly reduced? Only for some elite politicians.
Has the leadership up north changed for the better? No.
So, after 20 years, have we failed?
Of course not. Why?
Because we’re not working for poverty indexes or diplomatic councils. We’re not even working for the Sudanese people.
We’re working for Jesus.
With God, work is not just a means to achieve a specific end. Work is worship. When we provide assistance to those who are persecuted, we’re engaging in worship. When you donate to PPF’s discipleship or medical fund, that’s a sacrifice of praise. When we give a tarp to a refugee family to protect them from the rain, that’s investing in the kingdom of heaven. When we visit those in prison, that’s true religion.
Medicine will be used up and the body will become sick again, and ultimately die. Tarps will dry and rot. Food warehouses will empty. Money will be spent. Full bellies will hunger again… and again… and again.
But in Lamentations, we read that the mercies of our Lord are “new every morning.” Yes, we must keep rescuing the perishing — because that’s exactly what God does for us every day. And that very act of grace is not just a means to an end— but the end itself. “To the praise of his glorious grace.” (Eph. 1:6)
So after 20 years, would I do it all over again? Of course— as long as I get to work for the same Boss.
In December, we celebrate the birth of our Savior. He came in humility, He lived in poverty, and He died in obedience to the Father. His work by any earthly measure at the time was a failure. Yet, 2,000 years later, He still gives, and gives, and gives. And if we asked Him if He’d do it all over again, I think we all know the answer.
What about you? Are you willing to give again? And again? And again? The victory is not found in the results of your answer, but in the answer itself.