Mike is another friend I met through twitter. Recently, his family adopted a beautiful baby girl from Ethiopia. I remember following his story of Sosi's journey to the Rusch family. I remember him sending me pictures of the trip and the orphans who shattered his worldview. Today he shares a piece of this story - and it's special. This Sunday is Orphan Sunday - even better - this month is National Adoption month. We wanted to place this post intentionally on a day where we could celebrate the significance of adoption within the life of a believer. And, maybe even spur someone to action. As you read his post, consider this quote from David Platt and how God may be calling you to step in for the cause of the orphan:
Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes. So when you and I hear staggering numbers and statistics about the poor and needy around us and around the world, we have a choice. We can switch the channels on our mega-TVs and continue our comfortable, untroubled, ordinary, churchgoing lives as if the global poor don't exist. We can let these numbers remain cold, distant, and almost imaginary. Or we can open our eyes and our lives to the realities that surround us and begin considering the faces that are represented by these numbers.
I'm told every beautiful story begins with a tragedy... This seems to be so true. We certainly don't have to look very far to realize that we are not strangers from this reality as the world floods us with story after story of tragedy after tragedy. We see it in our movies, read it our books and hear it in our music. It invades us. It occupies us. It creates fear. It paralyzes us.
Eventually, we accept this is just the way the world is. For example, can you even imagine a Haiti that was once a place of hope and beauty? I think we trick ourselves into thinking we must become numb to the story and accept tragedy as the natural beginning of the story.
Within the tragedy, we long for a story that will end in beauty.
After all, I still have to function in the world and my son's soccer practice starts at seven tonight...
In January of this past year (after 18 months of waiting), my wife & I traveled to Ethiopia to meet our daughter. This was a moment in our life when we encountered the beautiful part of the story. Holding her for the first time seemed to pause heaven and earth. It was a time of beauty in the story, and it spoke of grace, renewal and joy. We will never be the same. But didn't this beauty come from tragedy, brokenness and pain? If so, how can we celebrate a beauty born from tragedy? How can we take joy in the tragedy of another? How can beauty to us be tragedy for another? Especially, if down deep in our soul we know this is a tragedy we would have never chosen, and a tragedy we wish we could have changed.
Even here, in this beautiful story of adoption, we again come face to face with a paralyzing tragedy.
And, if we rest here, we allow the world's story of tragedy and beautiful endings to be shown as true.
However, tragedy is never the beginning. It simply can't be. It can't be because we claim a truth that every life bears the image of its Creator. For this is a Creator who rescues, redeems and renews. It's within this perspective we begin to expose how the world's story is just too small. True, tragedy and beauty may be a part of the story, but it is not the story.
It doesn't define the story, it didn't create the story and it doesn't direct the story. Creation is the beginning and renewal is the destination. We must remember back to a time before the tragedy to a time known as creation. It's here we find life is created for a purpose and a reason. Life was not created for tragedy.
I realize our daughter's adoption story did not begin in tragedy. I know this because when I look into the eyes of my little girl, I see His image and His purpose for her. I see His renewal and His hand at work long before any tragedy that eventually brought her to me. She is not a tragedy. Her life is not a tragedy. Within her she bears the image of the Creator who breathed life into her. A breathe of purpose for eternal value.
My daughter's story and my story both begin at the same place.
It begins with a creation in which our lives were formed for a greater purpose than any tragedy can overshadow.
It is here we claim God's promise that he is the creator and the restorer. It is here we see every beautiful story begins with a beautifulcreation.
It is a creation that holds the image of the One who paused both heaven and earth so we may have life.