"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."
I got into the taxi cab to head back to our hotel. We had just completed our first visit with Josie. Keith and I went into this journey knowing the significant developmental delays Josie has. All the medical reports provided by the orphanage say that she is at about the developmental level of a 4 month old. We honestly worked hard to keep our expectations very low going into the first visit. It is hard to describe the adrenaline that flows through you as you wait for them to open the door and introduce you to the child whose pictures you have been staring at for months. The door opened and there she was! She looked so much more vibrant than either of us expected! She was sitting in a stroller and I was struck by how very beautiful she is! We spent the next hour holding her and playing with her.
There is no doubt that many of the things in her medical report are not accurate. She is doing much better in many areas than we were expecting. Yet the truth is that in many ways she is like a baby. She speaks in coos, tongue clucks, and sighs, and it is likely that she will never speak words (that is a typical symptom of her medical condition). She rolls back and forth, gets on her hands and knees, but is nowhere near walking, and the reality is that she may never walk. She absolutely engages with us in ways that we were delighted to see. She laughs when tickled. She smiles when she is enjoying a game. She has very clear ideas about what she would like to be doing! She loves to be held and will allow you to calm her by rubbing her hair. All things considered, our expectations were blown away.....and that was a very good thing!!
Yet, as we walked to the taxi there was also unspoken fear. What will the future hold for Josie, and for us as her family? We were sort of holding our hearts in check and although we hadn't talked about it, we were each asking ourselves the same questions. While it is true that adoption saves a child from a life with no future, it also can profoundly change the lives of those adopting, if we will let it. God, in His economy, never wastes an opportunity to keep chipping away at the stone around our hearts, if we will let Him.
I had some ugly stone around my heart. As I got into the cab I could hear Him saying to me, "What lives have value? Who determines that value? If Josie never develops beyond the developmental level of a 6 month old, won't her life still have been worth saving?"
At times I catch my breath when I realize how the philosophy of the world creeps in to my worldview. The lie that life is assigned value based on contribution, and that the contributions that counts are strength, power, excellence in sports, intelligence/getting into the best schools, popularity, physical beauty....all based on a standard that changes with the wind.
As I continued through my day it became so clear that God was showing me the very definition of extravagant love. He is redeeming Josie's life. A life that by the standards of this world has very little value. Yet, she is priceless to Him. She is SO worth the time, the resources, the effort, the lifetime commitment. This question is answered for me. For once and for all. God loves us extravagantly. Spiritually we have nothing to offer Him. We have nothing to contribute. Yet, He loves us and He longs to claim us as His own.....to welcome us into His forever family. It is all grace!
Let us love as He loves us!