We have three daughters, which makes my house exciting and emotionally charged at all times. I remember when our youngest daughter entered into the dreaded time of life so affectionately called the terrible two’s. She started to become very independent and she knew what she wanted. The biggest problem was that, even after three children, I do not always understand random finger pointing and incoherent noises, which was her preferred method of communication. If this method failed she resorted to screaming and making noises that would make a wounded animal proud. We try to be good parents so we began disciplining our child so that at age sixteen our daughter does not throw herself into the floor kicking a screaming when she does not get her way.
When we got to the point of correcting our youngest little angel/heathen, I found that our oldest child, who was eight at the time, would immediately come to the aid of the little angel. She reminded us that our little angel is very young and does not know any better. I must admit that she came up with some very clever excuses for our youngest daughter’s behavior. While her actions did not stop us from dealing with our youngest daughter’s misbehavior, the love she showed for her little sister was precious. She became her advocate. She spoke for her and stood up for her even in times of trouble.
The Encarta Dictionary defines advocate as, “somebody who acts or intercedes on behalf of another.” I think all of us have a desire for someone to be our advocate and I know that we all need an advocate. The problem is that in this world we seem to be so focused on ourselves that we seldom take the time to be an advocate for others. In these passages, Jesus is continuing to tell the disciples the hard truth of the future while at the same time giving them hope and encouragement. Jesus promises that the Father will give us an Advocate in this world. An Advocate who will help us, strengthen us, and speak the truth to us. An Advocate who will never leave us, no matter how difficult life may get. Jesus tells the disciples that life will not be easy for them and that they will come under attack, but the Advocate will never abandon them. I am comforted knowing God has sent us an Advocate who will never fail us because our Advocate is God himself through the Holy Spirit. Human advocates may fall short of our expectations or needs, but with God as our Advocate we will never lack for His support.
Not only does the Advocate sent by the Father intercede for us and support us, but also testifies about the one who overcame the darkness of sin and death, who is Jesus Christ. In John 15:27, Jesus tells the disciples that they must also testify just as the Advocate testifies about Jesus. I believe this applies to us as well. The Father does not send us an Advocate just for our own personal security, but also to help and encourage us to become advocates to this world.
Jesus says the Father will send us an Advocate so that we will not be as orphans, abandoned and alone. A man named James Lual Atak grew up in Southern Sudan and spent his childhood fighting for his life in ways that we cannot even imagine. Fighting for food was minor compared to avoiding capture, enslavement, and death at the hands of the Northern aggressors. When James was in his early teens he was forced to fight as a soldier for the Southern Sudanese government and became part of the group known as the “Lost Boys of Sudan.” Finally, James ended up in Kenya and was given the opportunity of a lifetime: a visa to come to the United States and start a new life. James had been waiting for that day, but when the day arrived something stirred inside of James that changed his life. Listening to the stirring within him from the Advocate, James turned down the new life in America and went back to his hometown in Sudan and started New Life Ministry. He now ministers to over five hundred orphans who have been ripped from their families because of the overwhelming violence all around them. James returned to the place that took everything from him. James is now giving back by being an advocate to those orphans. He is standing up for them when the world has turned its back on them. He gives these orphans a voice in the midst of the violence and evil. James is being an advocate because he has experienced and listened to the Advocate Jesus told us would be sent. The Advocate does not only comfort us and strengthen us in times of need, but empowers us to impact the world for Christ.
If you believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior you can be assured you have an Advocate. The Holy Spirit will be with you, even if sometimes you may not realize His presence. The question for us is not whether we have an Advocate, but are we being an advocate? Are we encouraging those who need to find courage? Are we being a voice of comfort and peace to those who are in the midst of the storms of life? Are we speaking for those who the world refuses to acknowledge? Are we helping those who so desperately need to see that there is someone who cares for them?
You can be an advocate in this world and make a difference. Open your eyes to those around you and be their advocate and share the light of Jesus that overcomes the darkness of this world.