My next few posts will try to give further confirmation that abundant life yields rescue and redemption. The abundant life that our Good Shepherd offers us is one filled with redeeming our moments of sin and shame and heartache. You know those moments—the ones that transform our years in ways we would never have wanted or imagined. And yet He transforms those terrible moments into rescued, restored, and redeemed moments.
The best way I can describe this concept of the abundance of rescue and redemption is to give you small snapshots into the ways we have experienced it ourselves. I have been rescued–from sin, from fear, from status quo. This ongoing process is not always fun, but it always produces a great amount of awe in the One who loves me enough to redeem me.
And my family’s response to His act of rescue on our behalf is to ask Him how we could be used in His plan of rescue for others. Sometimes it is small—a kind word, an encouraging text message, a prayer. Sometimes it is bigger. No matter big or small, when we open ourselves to be used in the rescue of others, we are overwhelmingly and abundantly blessed ourselves.
As many of you know, we adopted two kids from China, both perfect in our sight, but both diagnosed with special needs. Both had meningocel, which is an issue with the spinal cord. Sally had her surgery two weeks after we got her, and she has no problems. Charlie had his surgery in China, we think right after he was born. He had problems.
We were told from the beginning that they did not think he would be able to walk. Three different times the adoption agency called us back to see if we “really” wanted him, as they did not believe he would walk. Wouldn’t we rather have a child who had a better chance of being less complicated and more healthy?
Well, as most parents would answer—of course I would rather have that. Remember what my stronghold had been in the past? Fear, especially concerning my children. But God had made it abundantly clear that he was our son.
I don’t know how to explain that which I didn’t really understand myself—why a family would choose to take on child with medical needs, not to mention inevitable unique emotional needs. I still can’t explain the process of accepting and choosing to take on such an unknown except to say that God had made Himself abundantly clear to us. He loves the orphan. He wants the orphans of the world in families. He is the perfect Father and His God-Father heart breaks when he sees children suffering alone. And the closer our hearts moved toward His heart, the more we needed to respond. We believed that God would give us grace and mercy for whatever He called us to do. We walked in that grace each and every day through the work and the waiting, and we would continue to do each day as we loved our adopted children, as well as our birth children, into being all that God had created them to be.
In the end, God showed up in a huge way. He turned our unbelief into belief, our fear into faith; and miraculously, through divine healing, He turned our crippled boy into a happy, joyful son who laughs, and runs, and plays, and hops, and jumps. We have the privilege of a front row seat to see our Charlie walking and leaping and praising God because Jesus Christ of Nazareth said, “Rise up and walk!”
As we were used in God’s rescue of these two amazing children, God rescued us from so much. Self-centeredness, unbelief, and self-reliance were just a few of the ways we have experienced on-going rescue since we started our adoption journeys. Through these experiences we have found an added measure of abundant life. I am praying that your own life experiences will highlight God’s divine rescue and that you in turn will be willing to be used in the rescue of others.