Friday, January 25, 2013

Sometimes your heart tells you to do crazy things.  I've always hated the popular mantra, "Follow your heart!"  Our hearts ARE liars, after all, more dastardly and evil than we can understand.  But not always.  The Lord lays people and situations and needs on our hearts through His Spirit, and when that happens, there's no choice.  You either act on those promptings, or you are disobedient and therefore miserable.

I've got a longing love for a bunch of kids who aren't even my own.  I think about them every day, multiple times a day.  I wake up in the middle of the night, wondering if they're warm enough and worrying about their hollow bellies.  And I hope someone locked their front door tonight, and I wonder if anyone will wake them in time for school tomorrow, because certainly no one's making sure they go to bed at a decent hour.  And I wonder if I could talk my way into teaching them for summer school--I'm sure I could get them reading pretty quick.  And boy, I wish they wouldn't watch so much garbage on the TV.

I can't understand why we have so much when they have so little.  Knowing them for the last 18 months has rocked my self-centered little world.  I can't possibly complain about our old, slow computer or my worn-out slippers or the fact that my hair's getting too long for my preferred hairstyle... not when I come face-to-face with their bare mattresses and sewage-filled basement, in that house with six televisions and an empty fridge.    

We're always feeding them.  We take them every chance we can, but it's never enough, and I must sound like this broken record:  
"Are you sure you're full, buddy?  You just eat until you don't feel hungry anymore."
It's a small thing, food, but it's one of my love languages.  And I don't care if it's the last little bit of flour and oil we've got.  It's theirs.  Because when Christ talked about the least of these?  I'm certain He had those kids in His mind's eye.

I'm so crazy, I'd scoop them up--all 5 of 'em--and bring 'em home for keeps, if I could.  There's talk of sending them away in a year or two, for good, to live with relatives anyway.  Why not?

Why not?... It doesn't help my already-bleeding heart that Olivia is constantly asking, "Mom, pleeeeease can't we just keep them?  Then we'd never have to take them back home."

But maybe that's not "for" everybody.  I gotta be honest here:  I don't even know what that means.  Is that just one way of saying "I don't want to"?  Doesn't God "call" all believers to act like Him?  To step in and rescue those who can't rescue themselves?  We know God has a special place in His heart for those fatherless, pitiful ones.  How can I call myself a Christ-follower if all I ever do is shake my head and tsk-tsk and say, "Aw, I'm prayin' for you, you poor, pathetic little things."

Have you ever looked up all the references in Scripture?  The ones with the words "fatherless," "orphan," "children," and so on?  Staggering, I tell you.  That, THAT... is "for" everybody.  There is no list of qualifications or pre-requisites to love on a child.  If you've been graced with the love of God yourself, then you turn around and give it away, even if you have to go out of your way.  Is it not that simple?

I come away from all those verses believing this:  There's no way God does NOT want me involved here, in some way.  So I will keep bringing bags of snacks for them and keeping them over the weekend, stuffing them til they're sick.  I will keep explaining to the almost-five-year-old girl why it's so important to wipe, every single time, and really, you should always sit facing forward, not to the side.  I'll keep offering to do laundry for the mother, five pungent loads at a time.  And my sweet husband will keep reminding those boys that the way to take a shower is to actually stay in the shower.  And no, you don't wipe off the suds, you have to rinse them off.  IN the shower.

But it isn't even about meeting all those basic needs.  The underlying burden is for their souls, their eternal destiny.  They are trapped in that vicious, damning cycle of rebellion.  They're blind, helpless to rescue themselves.  But they're strong, every last one of them, and boy can you IMAGINE the impact that those five rescued souls could have on the world?  They are so upset if they miss their ride to church, and they are learning SO MUCH.  It's astounding!  In their own fumbling way and in their own ghetto-speak, they tell us what they're learning about the God we claim.  I want so badly to be able to share Christ with them all day, every day, in every situation.

None of the possible solutions is easy.  But a couple of them are unacceptable.  I can't be hostile, and I can't be passive.  Were it not for God and for grace... I would still be blinded by my own sin as well.

I don't know all the right answers.  But I do know a few of them.

To serve a needy child (or anyone, for that matter) is to serve God Himself.
God loves those who give cheerfully.
God will honor those who honor Him.
God's Word will do what He says it will do.  
We are not to grow weary in doing right.  The harvest will come.
To serve selflessly with compassion is to model Christ.