Have you ever experienced something that was so great that it changed who you are and how you live each day? I’m talking about one or more of those moments in life that you knew you had been touched by eternity? I have. A year ago when Brandon and I drove away from his orphanage forever was one of those moments for me.
Matthew 25:40 became a way of life to me after that moment. “I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me” (NET). Earlier in that passage it says, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me” (NET Matt 25:34&35). I can see how this passage pictures the state of an orphan and someone reaching out to that orphan.
I will be honest, and it’s a little hard to describe, but many times as I cared for Brandon I would pause and look deep into his face because I literally felt like I was serving God directly and not simply a little boy named Brandon. What made it feel different between serving our biological daughters and serving Brandon? I’m not sure. I served all 4 children the same way.
Perhaps it had more to do with the fact that the girls were never considered “one of the least” of society. They have always been loved from the moment we knew they existed. I experienced God’s heart for the orphaned because I saw firsthand that he was someone who was truly needy. I learned compassion like never before.
Now in his death, I’ve comprehended compassion on a whole new level. I am more tender toward people. I hurt deeper in my soul than I ever have before when I see a need. This past week our pastor had the courage to stand up for God’s word and call homosexuality sin. Word got out to LGBT communities all over our nation and the world. The story was on CNN and on many other news stations all over America. Since I’m on staff at the church and my email was public on the church website, I was bombarded all week. I could not believe the volume of hate mail that poured in to my inbox and how the phone at the church rang off the hook all week with threats and cursing.
Where normally, I would be callus toward what they were saying and how they were acting, instead I felt a small dose of the misery Jesus Christ experienced as He wept in the Garden of Gethsemane. Christ knew there would be many who would reject Him and die and go to Hell forever. It dawned on me and hit me to the core that these people who hate my pastor and everyone who supports or attends our church are lost. They are “the least of these.” They are hopelessly helpless and in need of a Savior. Apart from Christ, they are destined to spend eternity in Hell. Yet they do not see it. Their eyes are not open. It makes me so sad.
I was in that state before I repented and placed my trust in Christ. I am SO thankful that God saw fit to open my eyes and show me the hopeless state I was in. Even more so since Brandon briefly came into my life and left it for a season, I am committed to serve Christ even when it hurts and when it’s downright uncomfortable.
I find incredible joy in knowing that God has called us to serve another orphaned boy from Ukraine. I am again afraid of all the “unknowns” and surprises that come with International Adoption. However, I’m choosing to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. I’m determined to not grow weary or lose heart (read all of Hebrews 12). I’m thankful for the compassion God is growing inside of me because of Brandon’s life and death, but most of all, I am thankful for my hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ.