I sat in a room with our Stone Ridge Church elders recently. For you who don’t know what sort of weird creatures elders may be, our guys aren’t all in the same codgerly (yep, I coined that word) age group. In fact, we have at least a couple of them who are in their thirties. These are the ones we depend on to keep our church operating as smoothly as possible and to protect us from things and people who might dilute the purpose which Jesus gave to all His followers: “Make disciples.”
Anyway, since this isn’t a post about our elders per se, let me get back on topic. As we sat down for one of our regular meetings, I started counting as I realized how many of these men have taken a certain exhortation by Jesus’ brother James seriously. That strong statement? "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." (James 1:27 (NLT) No less than 4 of our 10 elders and 1 of 4 pastors in the room have welcomed orphans into their homes and families. Some of them have adopted while others are doing foster care. At least one family is doing both.
Those families are some of my heroes! I have seen the way they have chosen to open their arms and their hearts and their wallets and their houses to welcome kids who, without them, may have been left waiting...
…until time literally ran out. Some of them have taken in kids that the system had lost hope in. Once foster kids reach a certain age and can’t go back to their biological families, they are considered stuck. Most adopting families aren’t ready to take on those kids, hoping rather for an infant or a small child. In at least one instance, a family adopted a child with health problems. In that child’s nation of birth, those problems would have been left untreated and the child would have died.
One common factor in every family and every kid is that NOTHING MOVES FAST! The kids may be in desperate need and the families may be wishing the clock and the calendar would speed up, but every adoption story and every foster story plays out slowly…especially when we’re used to a microwave society.
Unlike many of you, I can remember a world without microwaves. In fact, my grandmother still cooked on a wood stove when I was young. When the microwave (and the dishwasher and the the clothes dryer and the electric can opener and…) was first introduced, it was touted for convenience. Simply, it was meant to make life easier. Somehow, though, the message that changed our way of viewing life was that we could do everything faster.
But we can’t!
Not everything can be taken out of the freezer, defrosted, cooked and on the table ready to eat in under ten minutes. You can’t microwave life! Ask those elder families at Stone Ridge about this and they will tell you stories of frustration and hardship and mountains of paperwork and home visits and desperate prayers before, finally, a precious child is welcomed (sometimes temporarily) by a loving family. That’s the way real life works.
And it’s worth the wait!
As we zone in on God’s relentless love and the story of His Son’s birth this month at Stone Ridge, we need to take a closer look at just how long some of the familiar characters waited. It was often a looooong time. And it was worth it! I can’t wait to share more this weekend. Can’t join us? Catch the podcast!