I’m afraid of looking in. It scares me to re-evaluate my life and realise that I unconsciously worship the trinity of me, myself and I. My selfishness is terrifying because it’s so powerful. It’s all-consuming. And it’s a terrible master.
Then I read from Jesus, “It is better to give than to receive” and I feel like quitting. I agree with His statement in principle but my life seems to be a direct contradiction. I am mostly aware of what I need. What I want. And what I can take. I have not fully discovered the joy of self-denial. I know it’s out there. I meet people who have decided to live for others, and in their presence, my spirit screams. It begs me to listen, to learn, to embrace their road. It pleads with my mind and emotions. It pulls hard in that direction; but only for a minute. Then, I take control. I rule. I win.
I don’t think this is just my issue. There’s something slighty off with our priorities. The church has found more value in success, ministry and politics, than in simple acts of love. We are a people called to defend the fatherless, to care for the child that has no family, to visit orphans in their distress. And it starts at home with our own family and friends. But it should extend to the stranger, the widow, the poor. This is the Gospel of Jesus at its core. Basic New Testament theology.
I am so encouraged by this generation because there is authentic self-awareness. And hopefully that self-awareness leads to change. I know that God has invited us (The Rodríguez Family) to adopt a baby girl from Ethiopia. It has been a long and tedious process that keeps on getting delayed. But videos like this one help me remember. Help me push through. Help me trust God.
Days like today (Orphan Sunday) give assistance to the voice on the inside. They invite me to say “Yes” to the life of Christ. Not the, “I’m a good person, I will try to do good deeds” kind of life. But the, “I surrender to Jesus and embrace His joy of serving others” kind of life.
I’m proud to ask for your help. We want this to get done. We want our girl home with us. Because even the best orphanage in the world is nothing compared to our family:
Here are some “Are you serious?” stats to challenge you:
– If one family in every 3 churches in the US adopted an orphan, every orphan alive in the US would have a family.
– There are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide (recent UNICEF report which does not include abandonment and/or trafficked children)
– Eight million boys and girls around the world live in institutional care. Some studies have found that violence in residential institutions is six times higher than violence in foster care, and that children in group care are almost four times more likely to experience sexual abuse than children in family based care.
– Every day 5,760 more children become orphans.
– Each year 14,505,000 children grow up as orphans and age out of the system by age sixteen.
– Each day 38,493 orphans age out.
– Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home.
– Studies have shown that 10% – 15% of these children commit suicide before they reach age eighteen.
– These studies also show that 60% of the girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.
– 2 million children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry.
I encourage you to look beyond your borders. To extend the hand outside your comfort. To find a life to empower. Another human you could embrace. It might not be adoption. And that’s totally fine. Just go, and love, and smile, and say “Yes” to Jesus in someone else.
How to respond to Orphan Sunday