“IF” is the title of a poem by British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling, written in 1895. This Poem is my advise to anyone going into the privileged ministry of orphan care as a calling.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Orphan care is a joy, a tremendous joy. But if you are called to go into orphan care or into any ministry for that matter, you cannot depend on the highs that Facebook photos often capture. The path is littered with heart breaking failures and exhilarating triumphs. Before you finish celebrating a victory, a seemingly greater disaster has befallen you. What kind of person is prepared to handle it? Kipling answers for us:
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same…Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!”
To succeed, we must learn to derive our joy from something that is stable and unchanging. Something that is unlike victories and disasters that come and go. That something is Jesus Christ. We must fix our gaze on Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. Our joy must come from the fact that we are obeying him fully in our work. Whatever the results, they shouldn’t move us.
Father, help use to fix our gaze on you. To derive our joy only from you. Help us to receive suffering and joy with the same outlook. Help us to trust you and know that whether it is sickness or health, we will live in joy because our joy is based on One who is unchanging. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Question. Do you remember a time when you were trying to derive your joy from the successes that God was bringing into your life? Do you remember getting angry or frustrated with God because of the circumstances that you were facing? Share your thoughts in the comments below and bless others. Especially talk about how you got out of that depressive fog.