Sarah and I had dinner with our intern [and friend!] last night and she just came back from a missions trip to Nepal [helping with the initial setup work for a worship/music school]. She told us they were planning on going to an orphanage and she imagined it to be like any other orphanage she’d been to in the past [or seen on TV!]: dormitory style, horrid caretaker to child ratio, desperate children awaiting their fate.
But later that day they arrived at a house with a family of eight. Father, mother, two biological kids and four adopted children. They heard their story – they had two of their own children, but knowing the local orphan issues in Nepal, they felt God leading them to share their home with children who don’t have a home. So they adopted four. It’s not easy. The adopted kids have a hard time adapting to the new environment. Their behavior is erratic. And the parents now have the added expense of putting them all through school.
The father started working for the school to get a break on the tuition. The mother quit her job to take care of all the kids. They can barely make ends meet and they pray daily for God to provide. And he does. They live in a three story house that is way beyond their means, but it was what they needed and it was an answer to prayer. Whenever there are struggles, they pray and God responds.
When our intern was sharing all this, I couldn’t help thinking how pleased God is with them, how proud he is of them. When we meet in heaven, they will be the superstars, the ones that God will say, “Well done my children, well done my faithful servants.” Our definition of success is so skewed. And we measure all the wrong things. It always boils down to how much more we can achieve or acquire. And I find myself to easily swayed by the world’s definition.
I’m working with a student who is trying to start an after school program for special needs kids. She keeps asking me how we can make it bigger so more people will notice [and thus carry more weight on the college app]. And I said to her, “What if all you do with the program is help just one special needs child forget his struggles, forget his disability and enjoy a day to paint, to laugh and to just be a kid? Is it worth it?” It was reminder to myself too… that it’s not about the bigger or necessarily the better, but purely in the obedience. God’s heart might be for us to bless a million. Or it might be to bless just one. But that’s up to him and not us. Our role is to obey. My role is to obey. And I gotta stick to just that.
Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self.” – Mark 8:34-36 [MES]