There are times I lay open opportunities on my blog for my readers to exercise some compassion. And from what I overhear, the responses range everywhere from annoyance (ugh, another plea) to joy. There will be no plea today (but not because there are a lack of opportunities). Today I am bubbling over with happiness and want to share some pics I saw for the first time yesterday with you.
Let me set them up first. Over a year ago, my friends Joe and Rachel were moved by the "plight of another" and began, with only enough money for the application fee, to take steps of action to make one less orphan in the world. This child, though still nameless and faceless to them, began to grow in their heart and they prayed for her; filled out trees worth of paperwork for her; submitted themselves to the rigors of a home study for her; raised funds through blood, sweat and tears for her; and committed themselves to loving her, providing for her, and protecting her for the rest of their days.
But this is not just a tribute to Joe and Rachel's compassion. They wouldn't want that anyway...they'd want all the glory to go to the One who is most worthy of all our praise. They have gone about this journey prayerfully, entrusting themselves and the child in their heart to the One who knows ALL the faces and names. And this One, the Living God, raised up a small army of compassionate people who would come alongside Joe and Rachel. We started praying for them and the child God knew by name, laboring alongside them for this child, sacrificing and giving financially to them, and helping in other ways as able.
God was (and is) at work. For those of you who are annoyed by the opportunities laid out there to show some compassion, be encouraged to not miss out the next time (by the grace of God, we can all grow in this arena)...and for those of you who responded in this story with joy, let your joy be increased as you see what God has done and allowed you to be a part of:
We get the privilege of being a part of this! Happy tears are flowing here! And yet, Joe and Rachel may have the toughest stretch of their efforts still ahead of them. Please join me in praying for them as the Lord brings them to your mind. The Ethiopian program made some changes this past year and now requires two trips...this is their first. They have met precious Abby and begun the bonding process, passed court and obtained legal parental status, but now they will be required to leave until the end of next month when they can return to bring her home (hopefully Christmas Day). Talk about tearing your heart out. Yes, compassion has a price to pay and sometimes you keep paying. They will be reminding themselves that God has a plan in all of this, and He does.
This story overflows from His greater story. Our Father had compassion on us in our desperate need. We were traitors, erecting our own little kingdoms in opposition to His. While we were shaking our fists in His face, He pitied us and sent His Son to bear the punishment due to us for our rebellion against Him. Amazing! His Son (Jesus) came willingly, lovingly, compassionately to rescue us, redeem us, and claim us for Himself. Talk about a price to pay! He had to bear the infinite wrath of God to claim us (the equivalence of an eternity in hell) ...think on that the next time you think the price is too high for adoption. When we adopt, we're imitating the Father...of course there will be a price (financial, emotional, blood, sweat, tears, the whole shebang, but nothing compared to what Christ bore for us). We cannot even begin to fathom fully His compassion, but we can rest in it and rejoice as only rescued ones can.
Jesus returned to the Father, leaving us behind for a season to prepare a place for us, and will one day return to bring all who belong to Him home to be with Him forever. I long for that day! Do you? We haven't forgotten Him and we cling to His promise to return as we live out these in-between days by faith. Little Abby won't forget Joe and Rachel either, and knowing of her longing can remind the rest of us to long all the more for our homecoming, the day when we can see Jesus face to face and be with Him forever. The Walser's are living out a picture of the gospel story, and the heart that God rips out of them as they have to leave little Abby behind for a season will be replaced, I believe, with one that can hold even more love in it for the glory of our great God and King.