Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27 (NIV)
I’ve been thinking a lot about orphans lately. Not just because I am scrapping the bottom of my pocket book to go back to Guatemala and see my own dear boy, but because God keeps putting orphans in my path. Some friends from church are adopting a sibling group of four. Two boys and two girls ranging in age from 4 to 9. In some ways, it was a tough decision for them to make. They already have five children. Four biological children and one daughter adopted from Haiti. Life was already hectic. Now, with nine children to raise between the ages of nineteen and four, life is not just hectic, it is insane. In fact, that is what many, even some Christian, friends have said that they are. Crazy. Even selfish to consider “wrecking” the lives of the children that they already had by almost doubling their family size. Don’t think my friends hadn’t already thought it through. But, they were compelled to bring these children into their homes and more importantly into their hearts. Because my friends are living a radical lifestyle. Not the one where they are chasing the American Dream, but the one that calls for them to be authentic Christ followers. Christ defines pure religion as that which cares for widows and orphans. It will not be an easy road. They can ask my other friends who eleven years ago adopted two children from Russia. Their son who was one at the time, still has lingering difficulties from his first year of life denied loving arms to hold and care for him. Their daughter who was two is a typical American teenager but walks like a Russian gymnast and dances like a member of the Bolshoi Ballet. They already had a son who was ten and is now in college. If my friends had not adopted, they would be contemplating retirement now. They would have a lot less gray hairs and much more money. But, they chose to live the Radical lifestyle as well. And now, through the miracles of technology, I have been introduced to Samantha and Grace. Samantha is seven and has Down’s Syndrome. She lived her entire life in a Bulgarian orphanage, isolated in a crib in a room alone. Her diaper was changed once a day. Some nights she went to bed hungry. No one ever sang her a lullaby or read her a story. But, almost halfway across the world, God lead Grace to Samantha and even from before Grace saw a picture of her or held her, she loved her daughter. Last weekend, Samantha came home with Grace flying twelve hours away from the prison of the orphanage to the loving arms of Grace’s family and friends. Because Grace is radical. And because of it, Samantha is no longer an orphan. God may not put an orphan in your life. Still, He calls you to live radically. What will it be? Who will you serve? What will you exchange for the opportunity to be the Hands and Feet and more importantly, the Heart of Christ? Someone needs you. Someone homeless. Someone hungry. Someone widowed. Someone alone. Someone in prison. Someone God is calling you to love. How will you respond? (For Grace and Samantha’s story, see the new blog link to the side called, Love’s Ransom).