Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child. Have fun!
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Waterfalls and smashed pumpkins
Some would say give up. Some would say don't risk the pain and rejection in the first place; choose only to love those who can love back. Some would say don't risk the hurt. Some have said it. But I can't.
I went to God in lament today. I cried out for wisdom and strength and love for one who doesn't want to be loved. It's hard to sit back and watch someone self-destruct out of anger and depression and hurt and to feel like the darkness is winning out over the light.
John 1: 4-5
So like David, I took my discouragement and rejection to Jesus. We went for a walk and ended up at the top of a waterfall. This was new for me. Usually we walk on the beach but this time He needed me to be at a very high place. He asked me to look around at the vastness and houses down below and in quietness and tenderness He told me that it wasn't just about this one person. He reminded me that this is about all of the children who, through no fault of their own, don't know love or family or grace. This goes so much farther than our family's sphere of influence; this is for all the kids who find love to be so foreign that it is scary and they have to put up defenses that are not only worthless but injurious. And it's not just the orphans. It's the widows, the fatherless, the broken, the lonely, the poor, the oppressed. Just take a look around. He told me I have to talk about all of them to raise up others who will do the hard business of loving those who will reject perfect love but who need it the most. This wasn't a new vision. This is an old one shown to people in every generation, in every type of service, because we are a people so prone to forget that we don't have a choice to love. It is a command. We have to love even when it is not returned. Especially when it is not returned. We love when called to love, even if the other party is hell-bent (believe me, I've been called and have heard much worse in the past few months) on cutting deep into the hearts of those who love.
Because that's what He did.
Where does our model of love come from? If we profess to follow Christ, if we name ourselves Christians after Him, then we have to look to His example. Some people are so hurt and broken they don't know how to accept love but don't they deserve it even more? His mission statement, which He quoted from the prophet Isaiah, leaves no room for doubt:
And in the doing, He has given us example after example. Most pronounced to me recently is not how He loved the "easy ones", the ones who wanted to get well, the ones who came to Him, but how He loved the ones who didn't love back; those who forgot to thank Him, the Pharisees always trying to trick Him, the rich, young ruler who went away sad. And the greatest example of this, for me, is Judas. Jesus even knew the end of the chapter. He knew that Judas was going to reject Him to the very end. He knew the hurt that Judas was going to bring. He knew of the betrayal. But He also trusted His Father's plan and loved Judas to the very end. Rejection of love is not a reason to withhold love and grace. Betrayal is not a reason to give up. While boundaries are important, our own fears of being hurt and rejected are not excuses to not love in the first place. And I don't know the end of this chapter. But I do know the end of the story and I know that love truly does win.
When God calls us to love, we love. Period. When He calls us to care for someone, we care. Period. When we are called to fight for someone, we fight. When we are called to sit still and pray while God fights for us, we sit still. We pray. We obey. We don't worry about the outcome; that is not for us to know or use as a qualifier for success. It is not our calling to avoid pain. Christ didn't. It is our calling to suffer as He suffered but to remember always that we do not suffer alone. We can go to Him, we can lament until we can praise. And we can be comforted. We surround ourselves with others who understand mission and calling and for some, their calling includes praying us through, supporting us through, or encouraging us through.
And our strength and wisdom and love for another day will come from the Lord.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains -
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord the Maker of Heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip -
He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you -
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm -
He will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
The story is told of John Williams, missionary to the New Hebrides Islands: After speaking eloquently at a conference about all of the successes he had witnessed on his mission field, another missionary got up to speak. This second speaker gave a brief report, humbly reporting his lack of similar success. And then he ended with this quote, "But I have this comfort: when the Master comes to reckon with His servants, He will not say, 'Well done, thou good and successful servant,' but 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant.' I have tried to be faithful!" This is all that is asked of us.