There were so many wonderful things to be learned and taken in at the CAFO summit last week. So many, in fact, that there came a point when my brain went into overload and became incapable of processing any more information. I want to try to work through some of these things, and I want to start in a place that I believe is not only at the heart of adoption but at the heart of Christianity.
The Gospel comes near.
Jed Medefind, president of CAFO, said this during his message on Thursday morning, and it has been bouncing around in my head ever since.
It is so simple. So true.
So easy to overlook.
There is this human tendency that I believe we all possess. It is a drive that whispers and tells us to stay away from the hard things. To surround ourselves with people who believe what we believe, do what we do, think what we think. To keep the "others" at arm's length so that we won't be challenged to change anything about ourselves or our lives. Human nature tells us to sit back and stay where it is comfortable.
Jesus says the opposite.
Jesus calls us to hard places, broken places, even dangerous places. And He calls us there, not because He longs to see us suffer, but because He longs for His name to be made known to ALL people. Not just the people no seem to have it together or the people who have ready access to the Bible or the people who fit into a certain mold, a mold that looks suspiciously like us. No. The Gospel is for all mankind, and in order to get the Gospel to all mankind, we have to be willing to get near all kinds of men.
The Gospel comes near.
Sure, it may make us uncomfortable. It may result in some awkward moments and strained relationships. But aren't we thankful that someone took that risk with us? Thankful that someone loved us enough to set the potential for hurt feelings aside long enough to share the most important thing in the world?
I submit that the same is true for Christians seeking to live out a James 1:27 kind of life. God commands us to care for the fatherless, and that is just simply not something we can do from a distance. It is not enough to be aware, to raise awareness. We must actually act. We must draw near, be in the trenches, committed to doing whatever it takes.
Because the cause is worth it.
Every single child on the face of the earth deserves a family. It is not something that should have to be earned or begged for.
So we have an important question to ask ourselves.
Do we believe this? Not just enough to acknowledge it as truth, but enough to be spurred into action and do something? Do we believe it in a such a way as to act as though it was OUR child in need of a family?
Because if we do, then sitting by and acknowledging the need is not enough. Just as Christ was compelled to leave His Father's side to redeem us unto Himself, so to just we be moved to action.
Maybe that means adoption. Maybe it means foster care. Maybe it means serving as a mentor or supporting family advocacy groups around the world.
Whatever it is, it is caring for those God has in His heart.
It will be difficult. It will be messy. Guaranteed.
But the Gospel draws near.
You will run the risk of being hurt or feeling rejected. But so did He.
And so we must share the Gospel with conviction. We must care for the fatherless with love. And we must trust that God will use us as His instruments to reach the ends of the earth for His name's sake, for His glory.
This is no easy charge. I struggle with it ALL.THE.TIME. But God demands real and radical sacrifice. And He is worthy of it. His banner over us is love, and His cause is salvation. There is nothing greater.
So I challenge you as I challenge myself. To reach out beyond the circle of those who mirror us and into the places where God's name is not yet revered. To take a risk and ask the Lord how we can practically love the fatherless and then listen and ACT when He responds. We are His church, and this is our calling.