I'd like to share one last thing (big thing) that I learned at the Orphan Summit VI last weekend.
I for one, LOVE to be taught something from the Bible that I'd never seen before. This was the case when John Piper shared his message to us on the last night of the Summit.
He asked us, "What does it look like to live by faith? Or to build and orphanage by faith or adopt by faith?"
Let's face it...when we adopt or participate in orphan care in a big way, we do it "by faith." It's sort of like climbing up the high diving board at the pool, being afraid of heights but jumping anyway. You know you won't die, but it IS scary. You are trusting "by faith" that the diving board won't break when you get up there and that the water will cushion your fall. Maybe a bad analogy, but you get the point. It's "by faith."
When a family begins an adoption, there are many things to consider.
-How old will the child be?
-Boy or girl?
-What medical conditions will we consider?
-How will we pay for this?
-How will this child effect our family?
-What from this childs past will they bring with them?
-How will we handle these things?
The list is really endless. But there is a level of faith that we must possess to proceed into this land of the unknown.
This brings me to Piper's message. It's from Hebrews 11:29-38. I'm giving you the condensed version of this message so I hope it makes sense!
It's long but I have to include the entire passage. Don't skip over any of it even if you've read it 100 times. You'll miss it!
"29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land: but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. 31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. 32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated-38the world was not worthy of them."
Did you catch it??
Here are the points Piper made. (Hope I do them justice)
1. Through our faith, God works miracles and works of providence when we start adopting and caring for orphans.
2. Not always #1.
-Sometimes He sustains you through horrific suffering. Having faith is no guarantee for an easy life or an easy adoption.
-Look at verse 35. There is not even a break in the sequence in this verse. But you can see it goes from God working miracles to people suffering. What it doesn't say is, "By faith, all these people had an easy time because of their incredible faith. By the lack of faith of these others, they suffered, were tortured, put in prison, etc." There is no break at all. I had NEVER noticed this before!
Some escape, some die but all by faith.
Verse 39 indicates that suffering people have gained approval through their faith.
3. Having faith, therefore is not the ultimate determining factor in whether you suffer of have joy in the cause of the fatherless. No matter how it turns out, my God is on my side.
4. God is better than what I lose here and gain there. (Ponder that for a few hours)
5. Those who love God more than life (or a successful adoption or orphan ministry) and suffer willingly in service of the fatherless are God's great gift for the world.
Pour out your life for the fatherless, NO MATTER WHAT!
If you've followed my blog, you can probably see why this message resonated so clearly with me. I felt like this message was spoken just for me, although I know so many people have struggled through adoptions.
While he was speaking, God brought this to my mind. Do you remember when we were working on our home study for Aliya and Blaine was lying in a hospital bed, paralyzed from the chest down? The doctor had told him the day before that he didn't think he'd walk again. This day, however another doctor came in and told him they had a new diagnosis and he indeed would walk again but he'd be in the hospital for weeks and weeks and it would be many months before he'd walk.
After he left the room, Blaine looked at me and said, "Call the adoption agency and tell them that we will be set back about 2-3 weeks but we are not giving up this child."
I said to him, "Did you just hear what the doctor said? Wow, that takes a lot of faith, Blaine."
He said, "What more can Satan do to me? I will walk out of here in 8 days."
God showed me that when Blaine said to go ahead with the adoption, it was totally and completely BY FAITH. Somehow the Lord had told him to proceed because he said it with 100% confidence in the fact that it would be. And it was...He did walk out of there just as he said he'd do. And it was NOT by any power of Blaine's...it was God. It was a real MIRACLE that God did on behalf of one of the fatherless, whom He loves so much...our daughter, Aliya.
Yes, God has done miracles and works of providence in our lives and during our adoptions. We've seen it. We've lived it. It's true!
I will never look at Hebrews 11 the same again, ever. Hope it blesses you as much as it blesses me.