Perhaps you have heard of Amy Carmichael, the Irish missionary to India. She once had a vision that she wrote about in an essay titled "My Brother's Blood Crieth." She talks of the church sitting in circles making daisy chains while the lost blinded people of the world drop off a nearby cliff. Nobody leaves the circle to go help the falling people. In fact, the screams of the falling men and women are an irritation to those making their Christian daisy chains. (Read the whole essay here if you've never seen it.) I read that when Amy Carmichael sent this essay to the church back home, they were very upset. Nobody wanted to be accused of what she was implying.
was is the truth.
I could go in a million different directions with this, but I am choosing one path that is very dear to my heart...
There once was a boy who had been in an orphanage for 6 years. Six years. Let that number penetrate your mind...
Six years without a mama or daddy to tuck him in bed at night.
Six years without a mama or daddy to hug him and tell him everything is okay.
Six years without enough nutrition for a growing boy.
Six years without his own Christmas stocking, his own Easter basket, his own stuffed animal.
Six years of flus, colds, hurts that nobody had time to tenderly care for.
Six years of lying in bed alone every night and wondering if one day...maybe...someone would love him.
Six years for an orphan must feel like an eternity.
So, this boy had been an orphan for 6 years. Sometime during those 6 years, he went to America on a hosting program for orphans. He spent 5 weeks in a Christian home, visited their church, met their Christian friends, and learned of their God. At the end of the 5 weeks, he returned to his home country and never got word that anyone wanted to adopt him. He lay in bed, knowing that some of his friends who had been hosted were now being adopted. What in the world went through his head? Do we dare even want to slip our feet into his shoes and try to imagine how he felt?
And, no matter how wonderful his experience was in America, he was again back in his orphanage with the knowledge that he was not adopted by his forever family. Then, some time later, he was given the opportunity again to travel to American on another hosting experience. Again, he spent 5 weeks with a host family and had a tremendous time. He visited their church, met their Christian friends, learned again of this great God. But again, he had to leave after the 5 weeks and return to his life at the orphanage. And, again, he was not adopted.
Let me interject a couple of points I want to be clear about...
**Is the hosting program at fault? NO! They are WONDERFUL! I very much line up with what they are doing and, in fact, have contacted one such hosting agency to see if I can work alongside them. Hosting programs are really amazing ways of bringing these precious children into Christian homes, and the adoption rates are very high in these programs. It's all GOOD....it's better than good...it's RIGHT. The hosting program is laying special bricks in this huge wall of orphan ministry. They are using their bricks in amazing ways, and the wall NEEDS these brick layers to coordinate the hosting programs.
**Is the host family at fault? NO! Perhaps they were too old to adopt...or their health wouldn't allow it...or they didn't meet the income requirements for adoption...or whatever the reason. Sometimes the door closes, not allowing certain people to adopt, through no fault of their own. Sometimes being a host family is a key brick being placed in the wall of orphan ministry. The wall NEEDS host families willing to bring these children into their homes, teach them about Jesus and advocate for forever families for them.
But, today as I was praying in my secret place, the thought of those daisy chains came to mind. Think about this for just a moment and try to keep your mind open and your defenses at ease... How many churches did this child visit? At least 2. How many Christians were in those churches? Let's say they were even smallish churches...we could guess at least 200 Christians. How many Christian families did this child encounter on his 2 trips to America, with visits to friends' houses, church events, etc? I cannot even guess, but we know it's many.
With all my heart, and without any mean tinge in what I'm saying, I want to simply ask of myself and any Christian who is reading this: Where is the church? Where are the ones who will rise up and honestly say, "Here am I, Lord...use me"? Where are the Christians who will enter into this orphan's pain as if it's their own pain...the ones who will not rest until he is in a forever family...the ones who will open their own homes and be the Hands and Feet of Jesus that we so love to sing about and preach about and talk about over coffee?
Please don't get me wrong. I've been repenting my own sins in this area, and I'm GRIEVED! Where in the world is the church??
We are busy making daisy chains. We are making sure our worship music goes off without a hitch. We are polishing up our sermons and lessons. We are going to camps, workshops, seminars, and retreats to follow God. We are busy with Christian aerobics classes, potlucks, classes and lock-ins. We are reading many books, memorizing many Scriptures, and debating Creation -vs- Evolution. We are so busy for God. So busy that when an orphan walks right into our church building, we entertain him with music and send him away without ever once entering into his pain and asking ourselves, "Is it ME, Lord? Is it my home you want to place him into?"
James 2:16 says, "If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?"
Matthew 25:40 says, "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me'."
How are we missing this???
We are busy making daisy chains.
Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees with their backs turned towards the ravine. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them, it disturbed them and they thought it was a rather crude noise. And if one of their group started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down. "Why should you get so excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go! You haven't finished your daisy chain yet. It would be really selfish," they said, "to leave us to finish the work alone." (excerpt from Amy Carmichael's essay).
How much is a life worth? HOW MUCH IS A SOUL WORTH?
FORGIVE US, LORD! These are YOUR children, and we act as though it's an option to care for them. These orphans have now heard of You through their precious host families, but do they know that You are the Father to the fatherless? Do they know that You set the lonely in families? Do they know that it is OUR hands and feet that you use to place them into families? Are these orphans experiencing this group of Christians actually DOING what You want them to do...to love them as You loved us? You adopted us through great suffering. Are we too busy making daisy chains to be willing to do as You did?
Or are we merely playing church?
Dumb daisy chains. Pointless daisy chains that will be gone tomorrow.
Oh how my heart is grieved! Lord, forgive us. Forgive me.
I will close with this quote from the book In the Arena, by Isobel Kuhn. "It was clearly my duty. I have heard some say that the need is not the call. I do not understand that. An obvious need is a call in any branch of human life. The Good Samaritan did not need a special Bible verse miraculously shining upon him to indicate that it was God's Will he help the poor fellow who had fallen among thieves. Where common sense clearly points out a duty, that is the voice of God. We do not need any other, provided a higher duty is not claiming us."