Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Preacher Wept

The Preacher walks into the room. He is returning from his morning run. I look up to greet him when I see that his eyes are red, tears are flowing down his cheeks. I immediately ask him what is wrong. He can't talk, he just sits down in a chair. I ask again, thinking he has hurt himself, or he has received a call of bad news. He shakes his head no, none of the above. He bends over, head in his hands, crying, and he cries out, "Why doesn't prayer work?". I hold him tight.

This same morning I had been reading my devotions. The scripture that was used was John 11:35, "Jesus wept." Those two words say so much about our Savior, of who He is. 

Over the years I have read and seen movies of super heroes. Men and women who use their super powers to save the girl, save towns, and save the world. None do I remember crying. But here is Jesus, the True Savior of the world, crying.

He is crying over the death of His dear friend Lazarus. Maybe He is even crying over the disbelief of the people who have come to the graveside. Had Jesus prayed to the Father for Lazarus' healing? We don't know, but we know he mourned the loss of His friend. Even though Jesus knew He would raise his friend from the dead, there was still a moment of grief. Pain came before the healing.

The actions of the Preacher that morning say so much about who he is too.

The Preacher raises up from the chair and rubs his eyes. I ask again what is wrong. He proceeds to tell me that while on his run he was thinking of a friend whom he had been counseling. This friend had not grasped the grace that God offers and was proceeding down to a very dark place. He was in the pain and could not see the healing. The Preacher had been praying so hard for his friend.

The Preacher is not a super hero. He is not the savior of the world. He doesn't have any super powers. What he does have is his love for his friends, for his church members, for his family, and for the stranger that he meets by chance. 

The Preacher is human. He grieves with a big heart and he loves with a big heart. Maybe, just maybe he does have super powers after all.

Love from the Preacher and I

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Let the Little Children Come Unto Me

The Preacher and I attended the CAFO, Christian Alliance for the Orphan, Conference this past week. It is a two day conference dedicated to children. Children from around the world and children here in our own backyards. Story after story we heard of children who have lost parents to death, children who have been abandoned and children who have been preyed upon. We also heard the stories of the foster and adoptive parents who have taken on the life of adoption and fostering these children.

Throughout the conference the scripture, "Let the little children come to me." (Matthew 19:14), kept running through my head

Who are the next generation to spread the Good News? It is our children. Who better for Satan to attack and kill than the children. I believe he will do anything he can to keep the children of this world from hearing and spreading the Word of God.

The men and women who organize this conference, I believe, understand this. That is why so many parents, church ministry teams and para-organizations find this conference a breath of fresh air. These people know that along with the hard times joy can be found. There were solutions given, explanations given, hope given and joy given. There was a collective praise for the solutions, for the explanations, for the hope, and praise for the joy.

I think out of all of the speakers and presenters, I thought that Rephat Nyarenda of The Micheal Project said it best. He told the story of how he was orphaned at the age of 9 years old and placed into a foster home of a Zimbabwean couple. He had never seen a washing machine before and he was fascinated the first time he saw his foster mother washing clothes. While the machine was running he decided he needed to open it and fine out how it worked. Due to the machine being engaged in its wash cycle the door was locked, but that did not stop Rephat. He pulled on the door until he got it opened. This of course broke the machine. 

He immediately began to plan his escape, of packing his bags and running. He began to think of who he could blame, but when his foster mother came into the room she asked, "Rephat, did you break the machine?", and he said, "Yes." Truth had been said. She bent low and gave him a hug wrapped tightly and gave him forgiveness by saying, "It's okay."

Two little words said so much to this orphaned child. Through out his Christian journey he remembered the words of his foster mother and knew his Savior was saying the same words, "It's okay!" These two words say forgiveness, they give healing hope and they give peace.

So the next time you see an adoptive parent, a foster parent or even a biological parent struggling with their battle with Satan who is fighting for their children's souls, tell them the Lord wants to wrap them into a hug held tightly and tell them "It's okay" and to keep fighting. Satan will not have your children today!

Here are some pictures from the conference --
Dennis Rainey, Family Life

Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

Josh Shipp, Teen Expert & Former Foster Youth

Andrew Peterson & the Carrolton Band

The Preacher and our friend, Norah, waiting for the morning session to begin

Love from the Preacher and I