But really, this is just part of a bigger picture. I have to say I agree whole-heartedly with Linny at A Place Called Simplicity. (Please go and read this right now. I'll wait here for you. Really, click on the link.) This is just another in a series of countries closing to adoption and children who really do need families not being allowed them. Here is the key, though... we cannot just sit around and moan about how unfair it all is. We are just as culpable.
We Americans have completely lost touch with the idea of repentance. Whenever something doesn't go our way, we look around and find someone else to blame. We very rarely look at ourselves to see what we have done wrong. And just like the little pink angels in our Christmas pageant, the idea of finding fault outside ourselves is completely un-Biblical. Instead, we need to see things through the lens of something not being right and examining ourselves to see what our part in it was.
You know that I and the girls in my Bible study have been working our way through Isaiah, and Isaiah is particularly informative on this subject. It's also not easy to read and even more difficult to wrap one's head around. It doesn't fit in nicely with our safe and comfortable God.
"I am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides me there is no other God.
I equip you, though you do not know me,
that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the LORD, who does all these thing." (Isaiah 45: 5-7)
Did you catch that? There's a reason this doesn't make the top 10 sermon texts for preachers. It's hard. Not only does God create well-being, He also creates calamity. We spent a long time discussing this and trying to come to terms with it. Taken in the larger context of Isaiah, we learn that God does create calamity; usually with the sole reason of causing His people to repent of their wrong-doings (which very often involve the sin of pride) and turn back to God. I even think the entire book of Isaiah can be summed up in the phrase, 'Turn to God, humble yourself, and God will save you.'
Humbling yourself in calamity is seen throughout Scripture. Take the story of Esther as one example. When God's people heard that Haman had plotted their extinction, instead of rising up, they fell down on their knees. There was mass repentance and prayer. And God saved them.
We cannot save ourselves. Our only hope is to turn to the One who can. I ask you to join in the day of fasting and prayer that is being sponsored by the International Voice of the Orphan, pleading for the powerless everywhere and asking forgiveness for our part in the situation.
We have plenty to repent of. Here is my list that I composed just in the time I was in the shower.
- For turning a blind eye to children in need
- For putting our comfort and ease before the needs of others
- For not accepting that children are gifts from our Heavenly Father and instead seeing them as inconveniences (or at least only acceptable in small numbers)
- For allowing our need for a child to override the command to work for justice and thus allowing rampant ethical violations in adoption
- For only wanting the cute or beautiful child
- For seeing children with special needs as less desirable and not quite created in God's image
- For allowing our own foster care system to harm children
- For not adequately training and supporting adoptive parents and thus creating situations where a child is harmed or loses his or her life
- For not working to support families in crisis and thus help to create some of the foster care crisis
- For not speaking out for the vulnerable
- For not really wanting our hearts changed about adoption because of the inconvenience it will bring
This is a start.
Spending a day fasting is inconvenient. It's not something someone looks forward to. But it is sacrificial. Use the hunger to remind you to pray. To remind you to ask God to change your heart. To plead for the vulnerable in our world.