Monday, November 2, 2009

Break Their Arms

It is Harvest Fest week at our church. This is a week devoted to missions, locally and throughout the world. This week, in past years, has changed our lives. Because of Harvest Fest we drastically changed our lives, from simplifying our lives to adopting George from Ethiopia. This week means a lot to our family and we anxiously await it every year and try to attend as many meetings as possible.

This year the focus is Children at Risk - how perfect! Our guest speaker is from Viva Network and I had the privilege of hearing him speak twice. Saturday night, he opened his sermon with this: "But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out." (Psalm 10: 14-15)
When I heard this, and even as I have read it in the past, my mind and thoughts have been drawn to how God is the helper of the fatherless. Over and over again in scripture, God hears the cries of the fatherless, extorts his people to care for the fatherless, and He promises to put the fatherless into families. It is clear that God cares for children...especially those who have been orphaned!

What surprised me is when the speaker asked this question after reading from Psalm 10..."Are we, the Christian church, breaking the arms of the wicked? Have you broken an arm of the wicked?"

That really made me think. Of course, we do not literally find someone wicked and snap their arm in two, but we do need to break the arm, the reach, the power the wicked have over our most vulnerable people..children.

The number of orphans is mind boggling. The number of children sold into child-prostitution is enough to make me physically sick. The number of children who are hungry and homeless is immense. And what are we, those who call ourselves Christians, doing about this? The speaker kept saying, "We have won the battle of getting the attention of the church. The church will now say that there is a problem with children at risk." Yes, the message is out there - there are millions of hurting children in the world. But what are we going to do about it?

The enormity of the problem could almost cause one to become frozen with fear - what could one person possible do? I am here today to say you can do something! Even a 10 year old can do something (go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic)...even a 4 year old can do something (give sacrificially - it's never too young to start teaching how to do that)...even a family can commit to pray every night together for the children of the world. Simply put, it is just time to start doing something.

I leave a presentation like this even more on-fire for living out my faith. I am tired of just quoting scripture and hanging out in the Christian circles that are safe. It is time to get even more dirty - feed more children, go more often into the places that need a loving adult, pray more fervently. I cry out to God asking Him to show me how He can use me even more...I know I can do more with His help and leading!

We all know the problems that are out there... Church of Christ - it is time to DO something! I am not shouting this to anyone other than myself - I have to start with ME. At this time, I think I know what God wants - he wants me to raise the children He has blessed me with. But that raising does not mean necessarily raising them in comfort and nicey-niceness. Raising them in the fear and knowledge of the Lord means taking them into the city to feed hungry children. Raising them means to give them opportunities to travel around the world to help hurting children. Raising them means opening their eyes to the number of children who don't have a mom or a dad.

The other day, Eleanor was reading her email when she let out a squeal and a cheer. I asked her what she had just read that caused that reaction. She was reading an email from a dear friend from summer camp who just told Eleanor that her family is in the process of adopting a 13 year old girl from China. Eleanor celebrated that! Even in the midst of our struggles and our daily challenges with our adoption, she still sees the joy and the blessing and the selflessness (which is a good thing!) that comes through adoption. She cheered and wrote a letter of encouragement to her friend.

Harry is ready to hop on a plane and serve children in the Dominican Republic. He is hoping to work with babies - just holding them and making them smile!

Isabel is a constant cheerleader for George - and she begs me daily about adopting again!

Lincoln - well, he is too young, but I can tell you that he no longer sees anyone in terms of black or white or yellow or red. He sees beautiful children in all beautiful skin colors.

Our family is forever changed by stepping out in faith and adding ONE child to our family. Only God knows what lies in the future for our family - another adoption? More mission trips? Full time missions? We don't know. But I do know there are millions of hurting children in the world who need and deserve the love of the Christian church. Is it time for us to break some more arms? The enemy has a hold on hurting children right now - keeping them in poverty, keeping them scared and lonely. How could a child who is STARVING possibly further the kingdom of God? Those children are struggling to get through the day! We need to break the arm, the reach and the hold, the enemy has on children! It is time to do some more arm breaking!

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