There I was, sitting in a room with some of the most professional people I have ever shared a room with. All around me were doctors, lawyers, researchers, FBI, DA’s office officials… the list of impressive accolades went on. Not only were there impressive titles in the room, but I was also easily the youngest one in the room by a minimum of ten years. As I sat there taking in my surroundings, the question ringing in my mind was:
“What on earth qualifies me to be in this room?”
All of us were there to discuss a new family justice center that is going to be coming to Ventura County. This new center would be a one stop shop for victims of all kinds of crimes providing them with everything they need from medical attention, to counseling, to long term care and support. I was there on behalf of “Forever Found” to be a voice for victims of human trafficking. But lets be honest, compared to FBI investigator, “Volunteer for a non-profit” is a less than impressive title. Regardless, I felt pretty honored to be in the room and the table full of untouched Noah’s bagels were calling my name.
As I sat there awkwardly munching on my bagel and cream cheese as professionally as I could, my own insecurity began to grow. “Don’t you think people would laugh you out of this room if they knew you traded in your college education to tour the country for music? These people probably have 8 years of education and decades worth of experience on you. You should probably keep your mouth shut when they start doing brainstorming exercises.” But then I heard the main speaker say something that snapped me out of my pathetic, food induced pity party.
“The biggest thing we can offer these victims and survivors is HOPE. Studies have shown that the level of hope the staff feels directly correlates to the level of hope the victims and survivors feel.”
Suddenly I sat up a little straighter and I could feel my confidence rise. Now there is something I feel qualified in… there is something ALL of us should feel qualified in as Christians. HOPE. Sure, I may not have an impressive title and a lofty education, but I was qualified to be in that room because the one thing they claimed to be the highest value was something I have a full qualification in. And even better than that, I have a hope that will not run out because it isn’t based on the world, or my own strength.
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who HOPE in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, the will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31
Later that day, I met with a young girl who I was assigned to be a mentor for through Forever Found. As I sat there listening to her story, I once again had that question creep into my mind, “What qualifies me to mentor this girl after all she has been through?” But this time, my answer was more immediate. Hope. My source of hope qualifies me to do all things that require offering hope.
Don’t let anything disqualify you from living a radical life for others. If you have a great education and decade’s worth of experience, I fully believe God can use that in extraordinary ways. But even if you don’t, don’t let that be a reason to stand on the sidelines and wish you were more qualified to do more.
If your hope is in Christ, you have all the qualification you need to come alongside those who need hope. You are qualified in HOPE.