Love Nation 2016 (Day 3)

An Unexpected Education…

An Unexpected Love…

An Unexpected Healing…

“There are children who rely on the help of others to survive their entire life. Many people think it’s better for them to go to heaven as quickly as possible, because life on Earth would be too difficult for them. But God sent them to the Earth with disabilities. They’re not the unnecessary ones in the world. God sent them to Earth with a purpose. Disabled children teach many people, change many people, and help people reflect upon themselves, which is why they are the educators of society. Even these deficient, feeble children, these really weak children live with smiles on their faces.” – Lee Jong-rak

I’ve never seen so many smiling children than in my son’s orphanage. If you just leaned down and opened your arms they’d soon be filled with children wanting to make your day better. Why is that? I ask because I wonder at the answer. Why is it that people with so much are not nearly as happy as would be expected. Yes, the same children who would wrap you in love develop a gleam in their eyes when they think of AMERICA. But if only we could know the joy many of us lack. What I think would surprise many of those poor children is that many of us in America get that same gleam in our eyes when we imagine happiness. Why?

Broken things, lost loves, torn families, all encompassing work, exhaustion. That’s how many of us would describe the things stealing the smiles from our lips. And we’re right to lose our happiness. No amount of ownership can replace love. No thing can fill the hole where love goes. But instead of recognizing that, many of us still try to push that odd shaped block into that love shaped space. Despite the fact that it never fits we still try the same tactics over and over. We even look to the destitute and we say “you poor thing,” and we look away unwilling to risk injecting more hurt into our hearts. What we don’t realize is love is the healer we all need. That love is the very thing that can fill the hole we’re failing to fulfill. Maybe this doesn’t describe you. I hope it doesn’t. Chances are it doesn’t. But it does describe some. And I think it’s reflective of many of us. Because all of us have experienced hurt.

It’s not easy to enter the places of hurt and hardship. It takes courage every time. But when we can muster it, when we can say yes to the need in front of us; we’ll be blessed every time. Why? Because of love. Not our love alone, but God’s love comes along side and surpasses ours. It takes our love to say yes, then His love does miracles.

When Lee Jong-rak’s son was born he recalls that he asked God, “Why? Why did He give me that kind of baby? Why didn’t He give me a healthy baby?” Then he says, “It wasn’t even 30 seconds before I repented.” And he said, “God, I am sorry, thank You for giving him to me.” And he continued, “So step by step, with faith, prayer and His words, I lived. That’s how I started this work.”

Little Eun-man, broken, feeble, with a future destined for reliance had a purpose. To teach his father to love more deeply than he knew he could. To teach his parents to care for more than they thought they could. To teach his siblings to serve with more than they thought they had. Today Pastor Lee Jong-rak and his family care for over a dozen disabled children. And since 2009 hundreds of newborns have been saved by something they call the “Baby Box.” A warm spot where mothers, too afraid to become parents, can safely and anonymously leave their babies; entrusting their care to others who’ve proven their love.

It’s appropriate to feel heartbreak for those in need. Even when they’re able to smile bigger than we are. The Bible says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” – James 1:7 (ESV) It’s not appropriate however, to turn away from need in order to protect our hearts. My prayer is that we leave ourselves utterly vulnerable to love. That we seek to feed the hungry. We seek to visit the lonely. Seek to heal the broken. Care about pain. That we simply love. Because when we are filled with love we won’t be able to stop ourselves from sharing. When we’re filled with God’s love we won’t be able to stop ourselves from action. No matter the cost. So let’s let ourselves be taught by the unfortunate. Let’s be inspired by love. And let’s share the Gospel, which is simply the greatest love, the love of Jesus.

Today’s story was taken from a documentary film entitled “The Drop Box.” It’s available on Netflix now.

God Bless You,
Jake

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