Fifty Days of Pentecost Devotional Series — Thursday, April 22

Philippians 2:9-13 (ESV)

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

The COVID season has been a trying time around the world. ChildHope teachers have been stretched to the limits as they have tried to serve their students in very difficult circumstances that have only gotten worse during the pandemic.

Ysilda Rivero teaches in a ChildHope school in Bolivia and is one of those teachers who has lived out, to the fullest extent, the experience of being empowered by God “to work for His good pleasure.” She did her best to keep in touch with families and students during this season and did so by sending lessons to parents using a cell phone. (Cell phones are everywhere, even in the poor communities where ChildHope works.) However, some of her students could not receive their lessons because their parents were some of the few who did not have a cell phone. Valentina, a student from a single-parent family, was one of those. Valentina’s mom was doing her best, but simply had no way to help her daughter keep up with her schoolwork during this season.

A ChildHope teacher reviews homework with a student in his open-air home in Peru.

But Valentina’s teacher (Ysilda Rivero) wouldn’t let her fall through the cracks. This teacher “empowered by the Holy Spirit to work for His good pleasure,” decided that she would search for the girl’s home and take her school lessons directly to Valentina. She planned her visits to Valentina and other students who also didn’t have cell phones in their household. Valentina told ChildHope leaders that my teacher came to my house and told me that she would help me and bring my schoolwork to my home and pick it up each Friday. “This is how I was able to pass my classes.” 

Ysilda Rivero is a living example of what it means “to will and to work” for God’s pleasure. Many of us respond well to need and simply want to help those who are less fortunate, but sooner or later we will run out energy to do so. The desire of this ChildHope teacher is a clear picture of what the difference is between our best efforts and God’s empowerment. Our will has its limits and will inevitably turn toward our own desires. Our power to carry out God’s work over the long term is limited. Only God’s empowerment would compel Ysilda Rivero to literally go out looking for Valentina, find her need and fill that need with God’s enduring love that allowed this young student to succeed.     

Byron Klaus
Vice President, ChildHope

See other devotionals in this series.

Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.