As a child, I could never quite get the hang of the playground swings. My legs weren’t long enough to reach the ground, and even pumping them didn’t really get me very high. Imagine my delight when I discovered “The Underdog.” A friend would push me from behind, higher and higher until she could zoom all the way under my feet and come out on the other side. I would scream with glee, as it gave me just the boost I needed to do what I couldn’t do on my own.
“Defend the weak and the fatherless,” the writer of Psalm 82 prays, “Uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (NIV).
Everywhere we look, there are people needing a boost. They’re the marginal people in our community, lacking a support base. They’re weak and needy, exploited and impoverished. They may be orphans or widows, slapped with circumstances that have left them at rock bottom. They’re easy to overlook, easy to judge and ignore. Often we don’t even notice them as we rush through life.
When our son was 5, my husband and I took him to a football game in the city. It was late when it ended and as we walked through the vast parking lot, he spotted a homeless man hunched over, holding a sign asking for money.
“I want to give him my birthday money,” he said resolutely. I wanted to list all the reasons why that would be a bad decision, but something stopped me. Maybe it was blessing to the man or maybe he squandered it—we’ll never know—but William handed him all of his birthday money. As we walked away, God convicted me about being obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, even when it didn’t make sense. That night my son showed me what it was like to defend the underdog, to cultivate compassion by bravely giving what he had, regardless of the outcome.
May we be the kind of people who give others the boost they need to soar into the air—to uphold, rescue, deliver, and defend. May we have the courage to allow compassion to dwell in our hearts and minds, as we walk in obedience.