Life with Family Promise means a fairly constant roller coaster of the highest highs and the lowest lows. Helping a family move into a new home or celebrate a new job means all-out cock-a-doodle-doo-ing. Having to say, “I’m sorry, our program is full,” to most of the 65 families who called asking for help in the month of July, alone, brings forth real despair. One of the ways our staff and board and volunteers are cheered and fortified is through the frequent unsolicited notes of encouragement and gifts of funds or goods. One of our regular angels is Dr. Paul Kincaid, 93. Dr. Paul happened to get married last week (another happy story), but he took a break from the festivities to send a gift to Family Promise of Lawrence, along with a copied page from a devotional by Tricia Goyer. The writing reminded Dr. Paul, he said, of us. The devotion was preceded by scripture from Matthew 9, speaking of Jesus: When He saw the throngs, He was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest. “What do you do,” Goyer asks, “when you get overwhelmed with all the people who need help, guidance, love?” She answers her own question, writing that she wishes she could say that she turns all her thoughts toward Jesus and lays her concerns at His feet. “I do that often, but only after I’ve worried, schemed and stayed up half the night trying to figure out how to help the most amount of people with my limited time and resources. I wish during these moments Jesus was bigger in my view than my problems.” Goyer describes working to launch a program for needy teens in the inner city, but her overwhelmedness, her scheming insomnia and what in my family we call the Little Red Hen Syndrome (“Who will help me plant the seeds, cut the wheat, grind the flour, bake the bread?” cried the freaking out, short on faith, martyr-diva Little Red Hen). But unlike the fable and so like many other tales of faith we know, Goyer saw God “force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.” She gives witness of God’s hand, “the numbers and needs were overwhelming but one by one I met up with people willing help.” Dr. Paul recognized a familiar pattern here, a pattern that is our own story of God’s faithfulness and the biography of Family Promise of Lawrence. God started the ball rolling when He introduced many of us to families and children who were in desperate need. Then He moved many of us to great compassion and then great despair. We were, and many days we remain, clueless. “How can we help? The laborers are few. The need is overwhelming.” But Jesus has been about His work from Day One and He consistently chooses the weakest and foolish among us to do His bidding. He brought a common vision and help among people of faith, just as He joined Tricia Goyer’s effort to reach more teens. “I’m learning that I don’t have to try to figure everything out,” Goyer concludes. “I simply need to turn to Jesus, who already has the answer.” Now that’s an “ah ha moment,” as they say, a lesson we’ve been learning again and again these last five years with Family Promise of Lawrence. Thank you, Dr. Paul. And thank you, Jesus, for your care and compassion and patience with your children all around.