Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"Polite" Conversations

Imagine you woke in a hospital bed.  Maybe you have no idea how you got there.  You are in excruciating pain and you are thirsty...oh, how you are thirsty...and hungry.  You cannot move out of the bed you are in, you can do nothing to relieve your pain, your hunger, or your thirst.  You lay and wait for someone to come....
Surely someone will come.....surely?
As the hours pass, you are slowly overwhelmed with loneliness.  Is there not someone who cares?  Can loneliness drive someone insane?  You are beginning to wonder.
Finally, you hear someone coming!  Finally relief! 
The person who comes roughly changes you, shoves some nasty food and a putrid drink down your throat - hardly soothing and comforting....and then just leaves.  Nothing for your pain...nothing for your loneliness...
"Wait!  Wait, come back!", you try to call, but no one hears.
Oh, the loneliness and despair.  How can this happen?  Where are the people that care?
Finally, one day, you awake to the blessed sound of conversation drifting around you!  Your eyes pop open to see all kinds of people...doctors, business men, young men and women, older men and women, pastors, church goers, neighbors....Ahhh, finally!  Someone will help you!
Yet, their conversations drift over you, they are never directed at you.  The conversation is all very polite and all about you.  They are discussing you - discussing very politely if your life is worth saving.  
Some are very focused on the financial aspect - how much care you will need, how much that will cost with rising health care issues.  What if they don't have enough money?  What a risk!  They argue that wisdom and caution must be used.  Your life would be very expensive to maintain.
Some are very focused on the time aspect.  How will people have enough time to take care of you with all the rest of their responsibilities?  There is so much that should be done in life.  So many ministries.  They say, "Just think about how taking care of you will limit their ability to be flexible for whatever God may call them to do."  They shake their heads....they must keep their time free...it must not be tied up.
Some focus on how crazy it seems.  God surely couldn't be calling someone to lay down their life, ummm, sacrifice their life, umm waste their life (yes, that sounds better) on one person.  God surely has great plans that need to be attended to....surely greater than giving up everything for one person.
Some look around and say, "Look, this person is cared for.  They are changed and fed.  That is enough.  They are doing well.  What more could they need?"  As if all a life needed was a little food and water.  As if there was no such thing as a human heart and the God-given need for family.
Many people mention the word "calling"....saying they don't feel called - or gifted to take care of you.  Surely God would never have them do something they didn't want to do, ummm, feel "called" to do.  God wants us to be happy right?  He said He called us to a life of sacrifice, umm, happiness.  Because He loves us!
This polite conversation goes on for a long time.  Some people are quickly done with the conversation and exit.  Some leave and come back....leave and come back.  Some earnestly continue this polite conversation for a very long time.  But in the end, they are all satisfied with their conclusions that you are not their responsibility...
So many polite conversations...
Polite conversations over a dying man.
It reminds me of another "polite" conversation recorded in John 9. 
A blind man is suffering in his condition....he needs care.  He needs help. 
What do the disciples - the followers of Christ - do?
They start a "polite" conversation over the top of him....trying to determine whose fault it was that he was in the condition he was in?
The text does not say, but I would think the logical next step to finding out whose fault it was that he was blind, would be that they could then determine whose responsibility it was to care for him.  If it was his fault, then no one needs to help, right?  If it was his parents' fault, then it would be their responsibility...
Obviously, it didn't occur to the disciples to reach out to help him...to ease his suffering...he was not their responsibility.
Can you imagine being that man?  To have this "polite" theological debate going on around you, while you are suffering?  While you are crying out for help.
All glory to Christ, that not only did He point out the significance of each life in God's plan, but He reached out to ease this man's suffering.
Others were too busy having a "polite" conversation over a suffering man.
Why do I bring this up, do you ask?  As I sat in the orphanage/nursing home with my sweet Yu-Chi girl, I saw other little ones in horrible suffering...incredible pain...terrible neglect.
Just as other families have said - and I did not understand - the caregivers love the children but they have NO resources, NO time, and NO education on how to take care of these precious little ones with needs.  They can feed them, change them, and brush the hair out of their eyes if there is time - maybe even whisper a sweet word in their ear - but this NEVER replaces a true family.  It is better than nothing...and some children have nothing.
As I was praying for each little twisted body and pain-filled face, it struck me that these were the little ones that we have "polite" conversations about.  
Little lives that we "hem and haw" over...
"Is this really worth our time?" 
"Is it too crazy?" 
"Do we already have enough on our plate?" 
"We are so tired already....so tired...is this really the right thing?" 
 "What about the rest of our children?  Is this fair to them?"
"Shouldn't others step forward, too?"
Don't get me wrong, all of these questions do have their place.  A husband and wife do need to carefully consider the commitment that they are making! 
However, there is a difference between saying,
"How can we make this work?" and "Should we make this work?"
Maybe a better question to start with is "Can God make this work?" - meaning, has God given us the basic things necessary to do this?  Do we believe that He will provide for all aspects of what He asks us to do?  Do we believe that He is Sovereign?  That He can open or close this door according to His perfect Will?
Then, if the answer is "Yes" - then move on the the "How" instead of the "Should" - don't spend time on polite conversations over dying children.
Really, should we be saying, "Should we save this child from pain, anguish, suffering, and death?" or should we be saying, "How can we save this child from pain, anguish, suffering, and death?'
The "how" implies actions - not polite discussions that make us feel better.
I will state again - not every family will adopt!  Maybe the "how" for your family is fervently praying for another family to step forward.  Maybe it is advocating and sharing that child's needs.  Maybe it is donating to their adoption account if they have one.  But if you are obedient to what God says in His Word, there will be some kind of action!
I understand the polite conversations - I absolutely understand them.  Handsome and I have had plenty of our own polite conversations - that is how I know they exist!  Before Yu-Chi came, we knew we wanted to adopt Serenity and Hope - we had countless polite conversations, until God finally grabbed our attention and rocked our world!

Honestly, the first night that I came home with Yu-Chi, it was 11:30 pm and we were exhausted!  Handsome was tired from running the show at home while I was overseas and I was exhausted from travel and missing my family.  He looked at me and said, "Can we really do this?"  I saw the anxiousness in his eyes - but I also knew his heart.  He was not really questioning our decisions, he was just feeling the weight of them.  However, I was instantly transported back to the babies left behind in the orphanage and I assured him that it was a matter of life or death; that God has clearly shown us time and again that He will provide whatever we need. 

This does NOT mean that we aren't so tired that we can barely function.

It does NOT mean that we don't have to rely on Him to provide for each medical bill and need for our growing family.

It does NOT mean that there aren't times of tears and sorrow and grief.

It does NOT even mean that we never have to go back to our Savior and ask, "Are we doing what You want us to do?"

But I am hoping that it means that we are done with "polite" conversations.  That our only question is, "What are You asking us to do in this situation?"  Not trying to find a way to dodge the responsibility laid before us.

No more polite conversations over dying children....we will be His hands, His feet. 

As many have said, God has called the church to care for the orphan...not governments, not organizations, but His people.....So, if we do not, who will?  Do we not think He will not call us into account for the neglect of His Word and His children?

To Him be all glory, honor, and power.

Until He comes....

1 comment:

  1. I love this post so much. We are moving to Ukraine later this year to serve bedridden orphans. I get it, yet I've never heard it described this way. Thank you for being obedient with your "how".