When our middle daughter was in grade school, she often invited friends from school over to our home to play. These kids came from different walks of life and family situations. My wife and I did our best to make them feel welcomed and loved, and it blessed us to see the children respond with warmth and happiness.

One day, our daughter asked if her friend Faith could come and play. We said yes, and soon Faith was coming regularly to our house. She lived nearby with her grandmother. We quickly learned that Faith’s parents were incarcerated.

Faith sometimes came for sleepovers and often went to church with us. She was always sweet and respectful, and our family enjoyed having her around. She ate with us, played with us, and participated in our family activities.

One evening when she was at our house, I told her that we enjoyed having her around. She said something that both blessed me and broke my heart. “I like coming here, Mr. Clark,” she said. “I never saw a mom and dad together before. Now I know what a family is like, and I like it.”

This little girl had never been in a stable family setting with a mom and a dad, or really of any sort. That struck me to the core. What I had grown up with and was passing on to my children, she did not know. I noticed though, that she wasn’t sorrowful over what she hadn’t been experiencing—she was smiling because now she had seen it, and now she knew it was something possible for her. We hadn’t realized it, but while we were bringing her into our home, we had been filling in that which was missing in her life. 

We had given Faith hope. Hope for her future. Hope that she could have a family. Hope that a mom and a dad could stay together. Hope that life could be shared with the ones she loved.

Not long after, Faith moved away, and we never heard from her again. I sometimes wonder how her life has turned out. I pray that she has found the happiness she longed for, the family she wanted, and peace. I thank God that He brought that little girl into our home for those few months, and I thank Him for the lessons I learned from her. I pray that our lives and our trust in God has had a lasting effect on her and that she is walking in the love and freedom that Jesus can provide.

One of the most powerful things we can do is faithfully show the love of Jesus to the people around us. It leads them to hope, because Jesus is the God of hope. Often as Christians, we’d rather give someone a sermon than a part of ourselves. But sometimes, sharing a sermon before we bother to know someone and their needs isn’t the wisest thing to do.

Jesus didn’t always start off with sharing His good news either. He understood that people are not all the same, and while some are ready to hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ, others must be lovingly led to it. The old saying “People don’t care what you have to say until they see how much you care” fits here.

The world is full of people looking for hope, and the hope you carry in you is the answer that they are looking for. Share a part of yourself today and watch as it impacts lives in ways you never dreamed.  †