Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Will I Be Chosen

"Why are you so passionate about orphans?" This is a question often posed at me, when I partner with others to serve the orphaned in the world. Despite the fact I could simply say it's Biblical and end the conversation there, the truth of the matter is, I do have my own personal reasons.

First, it IS biblical. There are over 2000 commands in the Bible for us as believers to reach out to the poor, the needy, the widowed, the orphaned. The Bible is often read with one intent, what's in it for me. As an example, the number one response to the question "why did Jesus die" is typically "for my sins." While that may be true in part, that is NOT the reason Jesus died on the cross. For theologians, words like 'propitiation, justification, redemption, reconciliation' come to mind. All Biblical words used in explaining the transferral of our sin onto Christ for the purpose of satisfying, justly, the wrath of God on man's sin, and reconciling us back to a restored relationship with God. It was an act of love by an overwhelmingly gracious God, for His glory. If we read and study the Word of God simply for the purpose of "what's in it for me," we will never understand the fullness of Gods plan or our role in it.

Second, I grieve, deeply for the fatherless of the world. I read recently on the Department of Human Services website, that some fourty-three percent of all children born in the US  are born to single mothers. That is almost HALF! That number absolutely astounded me. In addition, there are more than 147,000,000 orphans in the world. I am acutely aware America has its own supply of fatherless and orphaned, as evidenced by a common response often voiced to me "why go so far as Africa when we have people suffering in our own backyards." The problem in hearing that response is that it typically originates from the lips of those who neither work nor pose solutions to rectify that situation in their backyard, much less any other yard. I have learned from my own repeated failures, opinions never outweigh solutions.
But think about those staggering numbers. That is 147,000,000 children, right now, across the globe, who go to bed every night wondering "will I be chosen?" Will I be loved? Will anybody come for me? Or worse, "what is wrong with me?" Even still, of those 147,000,000 orphaned children, a large majority of them do not have food, shelter, clothing, education, access to clean water or medical care. In some cases, in fact many, we are talking babies who take care of babies. Children who head up the family at the age of three or even younger. Hidden within the shelter of a trash dump, a bridge, the cover of a cardboard box or amongst a few sheets of scrap metal, assembled to assume the makings of a home; this is where you can commonly find them. I literally mourn for the children of the world, who will grow up hardened to the idea of love, out of fear of loss. I am brokenhearted for the generations of children who will statistically, without the love of Christ, grow up and repeat the fatherless cycle. 

Third, I get it. I understand in my own way, through my own testimony, the heart of an orphan. At one point, I too asked the question, "will I be chosen?" It was answered in Christ. Oh how beautifully it was answered. A sweet friend recently said, "you have a beautiful story." I can't tell you how much that touched me. What touched me most despite my friends kind words, was the sheer magnitude of Gods grace. The fact that I can smile from ear to ear at my friend and say "I KNOW" and mean it wholeheartedly and with zero anger, bitterness or reservation, is evidence of that grace. I stand on the promises of God, in Christ, because I live daily under the assurance of His mercy in a deep and profound way. I bear the healed scars. I walk in light of where I've been, knowing fully where I am going. But, the truth is, each of us has an incredible story of grace.

Therefore, the why I am so passionate has deep meaning for me. It is a privilege to walk hand in hand through the fields of Cambodia sharing my story with teenaged orphan girls, just to hear the words "sister, your story like me," knowing that in some way it brings her comfort and gives her hope. It is an honor to hold an abandoned infant, praying fervently that somewhere in the world there is a family who will work tirelessly to bring her home. It is a gift to sift through trash, roll through red-dirt, trudge through mud, to bring food, clothing, shoes and the Good News of Christ to those most in need. Not because I need to, not because I even "want" to, but because I HAVE to. I cannot stand at the gates of a hospital as a voluntary physician who possesses a solution, who knows assuredly she has a cure, and yet pretend I don't see? What if that were me? What if that were my child? What if it were me who sat frozen in my crib, silent, because even at the age of one, experience has taught -no one is listening, no one is coming. Would I turn away?

I would like to believe if I profess to be a believer, the answer would be no. Most certainly, no. Call it passion, call it crazy, I prefer to call it love...

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