Monday, October 19, 2009

The heart that embraces

This past week our family welcomed Brendan back into our home. We felt such a loss in our hearts when he left and now he is back in our family for good. We have such joy in our home over this. I remember when my wife and I were first getting serious about our relationship and she said she was OK with not having any kids and I said I wanted a big family. Well sweetie who got their way?
On a serious note as I look into his eyes and see him looking at me I can tell there is a lot of tentativeness still in Brendan’s little heart. He has been in six different homes in his 3 ½ years and I imagine he is still not sure this is his last stop. In his eyes and in the eyes of so many kids I see Jesus there. I see Him picking up a child a loving the little ones who so desperately just want a simple love. There are times I know where kids are like the raptors on Jurassic Park, testing for the weakness in the electric fence of the household rules. When they are in this mode they don’t seem like the innocent little children Jesus spoke of. But they still are. Their hearts are more open to love and truth than any adult could ever imagine. They are also more vulnerable to hurt and evil.
So as I took little Brendan in my arms and gave him a huge bear hug and drove home and tucked him into bed I lay there thinking of what he may become one day and how God might use our small family to impact his life. It often strikes me that the older I get the less ambitious I become to “change the world” or to make my impact on the injustice and hurting in this world. There is so much and yet the one thing that we really think will help it all out, money, does really nothing long term to end suffering. It is a band-aid. And then the question is where to choose to put my funds? To end AIDS or cancer or childhood diabetes. To provide clean drinking water, end child prostitution, help the homeless, provide clothes for war torn areas, help missionaries bring eternal hope, translate the Bible into a new language, or buy slaves in the Sudan? So many more worthy causes could be named. We do support some worthy causes. Three of my favourite are Compassion International, Samaritan’s Purse and St. Jude’s hospital.
But in the end its just money and money always creates as many problems as it solves. We still need to give, but in the end it’s not enough. So then we come to doing. Here too we often feel things like short term missions trips, volunteering at the homeless shelter donating baby supplies to the Pregnancy Care Center is “doing our part”. These are also good things but they lack the one thing that truly brings change, long term commitment to a group of people.
While there are many ways to do this, for me I wish to sound the bell that adoption and/or foster care is an amazing way to have an eternal impact on a life. Let me first say that any time you invest this amount of love, time and energy into some one you are guaranteed to feel a lot of pain. But in the end wading through the pain, letting it shape us more into the image of Christ and showing His love through it all is true transformational living.
There has never been in an age like we live in with so many millions and millions of orphans. Is a box at Christmas or buying some fancy water at Starbucks or going to a U2 concert where it starts and ends to address this? What is Christ calling the church to and more importantly what is he calling you to?
When one day we stand at the end of history and look back at those who made the greatest difference who will we see? Ghandi, Benjamin Franklin, Hitler, Osama bin Ladin, Julius Caesar, Bono, Churchill, Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, John Wesley, DL Moody, Steve Jobs, or any other name you can come up with. I don’t think these names are the true movers and shakers. As William Ross Wallace said “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Better yet the heart that embraces a child changes history. I made that up myself.

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