I've been away from my blog for a bit, spending some weeks in another state taking care of my mom after back surgery. I'm thinking that every person should sometimes get out of their normal routines, familiar surroundings, comfortable ruts. There's much to be said about the perspective it somehow brings...the new lens it sometimes slips over dull eyes. Ahh...I see it now....as if somehow being away from the familiar allows you to crest a mountain and see a view you couldn't see before.
One of many things that I encountered during my time away was a clarity about orphan ministry. While I was out of town, some orphans from Ukraine came to spend a month in our little town. Some of the children went to the homes of some of our friends. I found myself away for this big "homecoming," and all I could think was, "What can I DO?" I wanted to be there, to hug the children, to take meals to the families. But I was many hundreds of miles away, so DOING something wasn't possible.
Seems I've found myself in that boat lately more often than I can say. And in the what-can-I-do desperation that my busy heart can sink into all too easily, a still quiet voice reminds me that it is not me but HE who is in control. Yes, Lord, but aren't I Your hands and feet?? I've always found this to be a fine line. But clarity was given to me in the peaceful pools of thought that I waded in while away from my usual surroundings.
The specific larger dilemma that raked my very soul was this: There are some children who are hosted for the summer orphan hosting program who are then adopted by the hosting family. There are some children who are adopted by another family other than the hosting family. But then there are those who return to the orphanage and are not adopted. They get to experience a family but then have to leave it behind and go back to the grim reality of life without a loving family. And this thing hit me smack in the face (again). I began to dip my toes ever so fearfully into their shoes for just a tiny second. Not wanting the full onslaught of pain, I only allowed one foot to cautiously press into the orphan's shoe for a moment. And I didn't like how it felt...I pulled back and wanted to run the other direction. Lord, I cannot DO anything! This hurts too much to try to put myself in their shoes if I then cannot DO anything to help!!
As if He finally had me exactly where He wanted me (hurting for the orphan but completely helpless at what to do), He then began to pour His light into my soul. While cleaning out one of my mom's rooms at her house, I ran across a book about the power of proclaiming God's Word out loud. The Holy Spirit sunk this deep into my spirit. His Word is powerful, and it cannot return to Him without accomplishing what it says it will do. Like a floodlight, this flowed over me until I was beside myself with HOPE. If I proclaim His Word, He will do what His Word says.
Immediately I thought of the orphans. And I remembered Psalm 68:5-6. His Word says that it is HE who is a Father to the fatherless. It is HE who places the lonely in families. Suddenly, the weight of this burden lifted off my shoulders. There in my hand I held the key. HIS WORD is powerful and cannot return to Him without accomplishing what it says. I began to proclaim Psalm 68:5-6, with the specific names of orphans. "It is YOU, Lord, Who is _______'s father. It is you who places _________ into his forever family!" As I began to proclaim this, the weight was no longer on my shoulders but rather in HIS HANDS. I was resting in Him to be faithful to His Word. My job was to pray fervently and with full faith for Him to place these specific children into forever families. It was HE who would accomplish this, not me.
And the fine line? Well, we can go too far with this. We can slip into "praying" about everything but never stepping up to let Him use our own hands and feet. After all, HOW does He place the lonely in families? He uses human families! He knows what family is best and right for each child...HE ALONE KNOWS. And it is our place to be open...to be willing...for Him to use our hands and feet and home if He so chooses.
So, the lens focused clearly, and I could see what I hadn't seen as clearly before... I believe we have a 3-fold job here:
1) PRAY His Word back to Him, asking Him to place the lonely in families (praying specifically for each child you hear about).
2) TRUST that He alone can place these children in their forever families. If we truly believe that He is capable of doing this, we won't be wringing our hands in oh-man-what-in-the-world-is-going-to-happen. We simply take Him at His Word and rest in HIM to do it. He alone knows His Will for each child.
3) BE AVAILABLE AND WILLING to be the human hands and feet He wants to use to care for these children.
And I always love what Mary Beth Chapman once said: "Be willing to go beyond easy."