Five years ago my life was changed. God changed my view of Him. It was a time where I was forced to face whether I really believed who God said He was. It was a time of deep hurt, similar to how a spouse must feel when they are betrayed in marriage. The very people God had asked us to minister to were rejecting us or at least a certain group of people. I didn't understand.
How could we not be good enough? God was the One that called us to sacrifice our personal goals and futures to serve Him, to serve His Church. We didn't choose our path, we were just obeying. Wasn't that enough? Wasn't it enough to live each day in faith and love serving where the Lord had planted us? Why do His people require more than faithfulness? I began to question whether church leaders were right or whether God meant what He said that "His grace is sufficient in your weakness". I had always believed in child like faith that I didn't have to be talented, charismatic, or special to serve... I just obeyed what my Father said to do.
Sometimes, when you hurt, it comes out in anger. I definitely had moments of being angry and felt that God needed to "show Himself", maybe in lightening bolts?, and to bring justice to a situation that seemed completely opposite of what is true in His Word. I kept saying in my prayers, "Where ARE you God?". Because if I believed what certain voices were saying, then I couldn't also believe God was who He said He was. God was testing me. He was testing my faith.
At the same time this suffering in ministry was taking place, I had decided to go to an orphanage in Jamaica on a mission trip. It was early February of 2005.
Many of you know that this is where my love for the orphan began. However, what you may not know is why this was so spiritually life changing. It was there in Jamaica when the Lord finally spoke to me, showing me that it was in the least of these where I would FIND Him. He showed me that we are ALL orphans. And He showed me how much He loves the orphan... how much He loves the rejected, the lost, the untalented, the lame, the least, the unpopular, the unlovable. He showed me how much He loves me.
Not only does He love the least of these but that was actually how He chose to come to the earth as the Savior of the world. As a baby that was born in a stable.
I don't know why we continue to think we will find the face of Jesus in the great, the talented, the popular, the wealthy,... not that He doesn't exist among these too. But we forget too often what the Lord spoke to the prophet Samuel, so long ago. "for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1Sam.16:7)
I love that I serve a God like this... my heart melts in love for Him when I read these words. I love that I serve a God that would choose to come to the earth in a humble position. I love that I serve a God who purposely CHOOSES the rejected for great things. I love that I serve a God who loves orphans.
As I prepare for our upcoming orphan conference in February, God has prompted me to dwell on what He taught me just these few short years ago. These orphans are souls that need Jesus. These orphans represent the Father's great love for the rejected, the forsaken, the forgotten. These orphans remind me how much He loves me. I will press on with endurance as I consider the privilege it is to be sent on a quest by the King of all creation for a people that has captured His heart... possibly the most vulnerable of all the least of these, the orphan.
This is why I love the orphan.
If you are interested in coming to the orphan conference, visit www.connectingheartsconference.org