We are about to kick off one of our last big fund raisers before we leave for Ethiopia in January. We are going to be selling t-shirts, and the theme of our t-shirts is, "Worth it." But before we do that (We should be kicking it off tomorrow!), I wanted to share a little bit of my heart when it comes to adoption and the story of every Christian's salvation.
I have heard so many people talk about adoption like it is some kind of cause. Well, it's not. It is not a trend. It is not what's hot right now. Simply put, it is the heart of God. Many of us think about how adoption will affect ourselves and our families. We wonder if we will be able to handle any difficulties that will come our way. We don't know if we are willing to take on the baggage and difficulties that might come with an older child. We don't know if we want to take the risk of adopting a baby with so many unknowns. It is scary, and there are no guarantees that everything will be okay.
Every time I think about these things. Every time I am scared of the road ahead, God gently reminds me of my own adoption story. He reminds me that once upon a time, I was lost. I was carrying tons of baggage. I was sick with sin. There was no guarantee I would ever get better. There was no guarantee that I would ever love Him with everything within me. There was no guarantee that I would be a "good" child, that obeyed Him and sought hard after Him. There was no guarantee that I wouldn't run away and leave Him. And yet, without one single guarantee, and with all my junk, He adopted me anyways. He took me in. When I left my old life to be with Him, He made me a part of His family. He didn't love me any less than His other children. He gave me an inheritance. He gave me every bit of His love that I could handle. And that love He gave me was unconditional. It was amazing. It was life-changing.
And here I am today, a child of God. I have a permanent home, and a Father who will never fail me. I have failed so many times. I have walked away from Him more than I would like to admit. I have messed up, yelled at Him, rejected Him, and run from Him. But in the end, I have always run back to Him, and He has always been standing there waiting with open arms. On the nights when I felt so much sorrow that I could hardly breathe, He has embraced me and held me tight. He has wept with me. He has rejoiced over me. He has loved me.
What an amazing thing it is to be able to see this paralleled in the physical act of adoption here on earth. We adopt children who have come from all kinds of backgrounds and who have no guarantees, not because it is going to make us feel good or fulfill our need for a family (although this very often happens!), but because it is the heart of God. It is a beautiful reflection of our own adoption story.
It is not about us. It is about Him. We were not put on this earth to feel good and have comfortable lives. We were put on this earth to live life for God, to glorify His name, to share the truth of the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. And even though I so desperately want to be comfortable and live an easy life, I want to live for Jesus more. And living for Jesus costs something. Most of the time it costs us our comfort. Sometimes it costs us our lives. Isn't it funny that some of the things that are most important to God's heart, are some of the things that are most difficult for Christians walk out? i.e. Sharing our faith with others, Adoption, Giving time or money to those in need.
James 1:27 tells us that pure religion is caring for widows and orphans. It doesn't get much plainer than that. And yet, somehow that simple truth has alluded me for nearly 31 years. It has alluded so many of us. That doesn't mean that all of us have to adopt. It does mean that all of us should be caring for the widows and orphans in some manner. Are you doing this? How are you doing this? And if you aren't, what is keeping you from it? Money? Time? Have you talked to God about it? Have you asked Him what part you play in this "pure religion"? If you haven't, you should. This is serious stuff, people. And it is serious to the heart of God. I'm not here to judge your actions/heart or lack thereof. Only God can truly do that. But today I am here to challenge you. I am here to challenge myself. God has given me so much grace and has been so patient with me. I can't believe I went so many years and never truly cared. How could I not care? Perhaps no one got in my face and told me the truth, because they didn't want to offend me or make me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps I just wasn't paying attention, and was too wrapped up in my own problems to be able to see that this life is not about me. Whatever it was, a shift happened this year. God has made some drastic changes in my life and in my heart, and for the first time I feel like I can truly see. I am truly beginning to understand the significance of my own salvation.
I'm going to leave you with one final thought. For all the discomfort that comes with a life lived for God...For all the discomfort that comes with sharing my faith with someone who may possibly reject the Truth...For all the discomfort that comes from deciding to sacrifice money or time or lives for the the poor, the needy, the widow, the orphan... IT. IS. WORTH. IT.
It is worth it because God gave everything for my life. He gave everything that I might be saved. He gave everything that I might have the chance to spend an eternity with Him. He looked at me....He looked at all of us....and He gave His only son, because He knew that WE WERE WORTH IT. In the same way, as Wes and I walk this road of adoption, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that every tear, every heartache, every bump, every phone call, every penny, every roadblock, every rejection....it is all worth it. Thank you God, thank you God, thank you God! You looked at us and you said, "Worth it." In the same way, we can look at our little miracles in Ethiopia and we can say, "Worth it."