I have to retell this couple’s story.
My mom sent me a DVD of a recent sermon from my hometown church. Our pastor calls a couple onto the stage. I recognize them. They’re probably about 55 of 60 years old. They have nine grandchildren. I’ve known of them since I was young, and I have always loved their South African accents.
Their son and his wife are adopting from Russia. The son asked his mom to come with him to visit the orphanage. “I warned my wife,” the husband on the stage says, “Be prepared to have your heart broken.”
He goes on to say, “Sure, there is no way we were going to adopt. Look at our age. We are comfortable. We’re coasting. We’ve had an empty nest for 12 years, gosh darn it. We don’t have to worry about that.”
Before the trip, the orphanage sent a pamphlet to their home with a photolisting of children available for sponsorship. Separately, the husband and the wife chose the same 14-year-old girl. They went to Russia, met the girl… and bonded. “It became evident that God placed this little girl on our hearts for His purpose. Not because we wanted to, but because He wanted us to take care of this situation,” they say. “We felt convicted by God and we had no other choice but to obey.”
On their second to last day there, they were sitting in a park with the girl when they asked her if she wanted to be their daughter. She said yes.
“Some people have told us we’re crazy,” they share, “But when I look at all the crazy things Jesus did for us, how could we not follow suit? If God can demonstrate crazy love by sacrifice his only son for me, how can we not demonstrate crazy love for the least of these?”
As the pastor comes on stage to pray with the couple, everyone in the church auditorium stands and clap. And then, in a moment of what is most profound about all of this to me, the future father of this 14-year-old girl quiets them saying, “Please, please. This is not about us.”
[want to hear the whole thing? it’s the sermon titled ‘Who Really Lives This Way?’]