Legacy III: A Big God with a Big Heart

Driving out to the country, the sun shining brightly and with every intention of enjoying the day with the family,  I sat relaxed beside my husband as he drove. From the backseat, our son, who was four at that time, quipped, "I wish I have Papa's heart."

Startled, my husband asked, "Why do you want my heart?"

Misha answered, "Because you have a big heart." Then he asked his father with all sincerity, "Pa, can I have your heart?"

My husband was at a loss for words. He looked at me in confusion and help. Not one to pass a special moment, I turned in my seat to look at my son and ask, "What makes you think Papa has a big heart?"

"Well," Misha began, "He is big."

"Do you know that you can have a big heart too?"

"I can?" Misha was clearly interested in my answer. He leaned forward. I noticed my husband listening in to the conversation, too. He probably was trying to see what kind of answers I would come up with. (Hehe...)

"Yes, you can. God made you and He is the one who gave you your heart. But do you know that Jesus has a bigger heart than Papa's?"

"He does?" Misha was really intrigued.

"Yes. He has a heart so big that all of us can fit in there."

Misha's eyes grew wide. "That's why," I continued, "the Bible said 'God loves the world'. His heart is so big, He can love everybody. And you can have a big heart too. Ask Jesus to give you a big heart just like His and He will give it to you."

"You can have a heart as big as Jesus', Mish," I ended. I looked at my husband and he was nodding. I smiled at him and he smiled back.

Obviously satisfied, Misha said, "I want a heart like Jesus', Ma." I remembered feeling so happy to hear that.

I grew up with people who had big hearts, too. I grew up with a father who loved to give our last portion of rice (to the dismay of my mom) to anybody who came over for a 'visit'; and any money he may have to working students every time he came over to visit us at our boarding school.

My parents and their active monkeys :)...
They would have been excited to know that they're going to have 9 soon!
Then after they retired, they chose to take care of my nephew and niece, surrendering any fun or relaxation they may have in order that their grandchildren, too, may know Jesus and have the opportunity to get an Adventist education. They chose to reside right where shanties were barely standing. And at first, I questioned their judgment. Most people would have preferred the best location to have the most comfortable residence and pleasurable existence. But my parents instead chose to move in at a community where crime and poverty was common fare. And there, after spending a vacation in their home, I finally put a face on what society calls poverty.

It is the woman who comes knocking at evening, chatting with my mom about innocuous topics, as if not caring for anything. Then slips in a serious thought that has been troubling her. Maybe this year, her daughter won't be able to finish school. There is just no way they can afford to send her to school when there's barely enough food for both of them to eat. Her husband has abandoned them. And it's better that he's gone as he just loves to get drunk. But as for her daughter's schooling, it has been getting too hard. Her daughter often has to forgo a meal just to have fare to go to school, while they both wake up early to sweep streets for a small wage and accept any jobs they could get--- doing laundry, housekeeping, be a community guard, etc. Her daughter has offered to work full-time and forget about finishing school this year, or even the possibility of graduating and getting an education degree.

It is the little boy holding his Mama's hand and the tiny baby, looking so pale and sad, in her arms. They came from not so far place they call home just so they can ask help for their older sister who has gotten sick and is in the hospital. The mother talked to my mom, while the two little children quietly sat down with her. They don't have the money to cover the hospital fees (they usually don't). She promised to give my mom one sack of rice when they get to harvest the rice they have in their farm. My mom gave them something to eat. It was midday and the heat was too much. Yet, they have come for one of the family, braving the heat at that hour.

It is the abused mother of  three, who finally decided that she won't be a punching bag to her husband anymore. Every time he gets drunk, he turns on her. Now faced with the responsibility of feeding her three children and their schooling without any income, my parents decided to ask her to help them out with the chores at home. She comes after she has taken her children to school, and all day she does everything to keep the house and help my parents with anything, not sitting down even for a minute until the clock strikes 5:00. At 5:00 p.m., she goes home and takes care of her own children and household. I can just imagine how exhausted she must be!

Li'l Ella liked to sleep on Lolo, while listening to his heart beating.

I would never have truly understood the plight of the people that Jesus came to save, if I never got to live in that place. There, I came to see how incredible Jesus' love is for us. A God who has everything in his fingertips came down to be with humanity. And in this very act, He became one of us. He understands us. Not only that, He came to save us. He is a big God who has a big, big heart for people like me and you... and people in poverty, who I assure you have faces, just like yours and mine, and hearts that feel pain, too.

My parents can give what they had because they knew a God who freely gives all that He has, even His only Son. My parents understood that they were undeserving, like all of us are, but they also understood, even if not perfectly, the big heart that God has. And I am very much indebted to them for introducing me to such a God, with a big, big heart. It is because of my parents great faith in a Him, the God who gave them a big heart, that I came to know Him, too, and His big heart.

And like my son, I want to say, "Pa, Ma, can I have your heart?" Though they've been gone for more than three months now, I can almost hear them say, "Jesus has the biggest heart. You can ask Him." (My mom used to tell me to go to Jesus every time I need something or have big life questions.)

Understanding that, I can respond, "I want a heart like Jesus, too!"

How about you?

"The Lord is good. And His love endures forever!" (Psalm 100:5).

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