Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hosea - A Story of Redemption

I just finished reading the book of Hosea.....again.  I can't get enough of it!!  It is a beautiful story of redemption.   A man for his wife.   A God for His people.    Here is a man, whom God instructs to marry a woman named Gomer.  But not just any woman.   Hosea is told from the get-go that his soon to be wife WILL be adulterous and WILL leave him many times and WILL have children with other men.  But in spite of all this, God instructs him to marry Gomer anyway.   To love her unconditionally.   To pursue her each and every time she goes astray.   
And.  He.  Does.  

Wow.   In fact, in the end, when she leaves him again, Hosea buys her back for fifteen shekels of silver.   He redeems her.   Not because of anything SHE has done, but because of who HE is.   And therin lies a picture of our heavenly Father.   A loving, passionate Father who pursues His children even when we are undeserving.   Even when we have gone astray and have been unfaithful to Him.  It is a love that makes a DELIBERATE CHOICE to love, even when the love is unreciprocated. 
Unlike Hosea, we don't know the end of our redemption story.  With all the changes taking place in Ethiopia regarding adoption, it's difficult to know exactly how this story will end.  But we know that God has placed us on this journey for a reason.  And just like so often in life, that reason is not always known until the story is complete.  And so, "we press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us]" (Philippians 3:14) and we trust that we serve a God who DOES know the end to our story.  The following excerpt came from a friend's blog, Cayte.   Read about her family's redemption story here.  This testimony that she had shared was written by a man named Derek Loux as he was in the process of adopting from the Ukraine. 
Renee’ and I are sitting in the office of a telephone company in Novograd Valenski, Ukraine, using wireless internet.  We are in the middle of adopting three special needs boys from an orphanage here.  Two of the boys have Down Syndrome.  Roman is high functioning, energetic and happy.  Dimitri has serious mental retardation, failure to thrive, and though he is five years old, he is the size of a 1 year old.  He has sores on his face, a distinct smell of death on him, and yells out if we try to do anything with him other than hold him. Because he has less ability to respond and learn, he naturally gets less attention and care from the orphanage workers in this world of limited resources.  The harsh reality of the “survival of the fittest” principle is a life and death struggle that this little boy is losing fast.  Our third boy Sasha, is a brilliant six year old who has Spina Bifida (the condition our son Josiah died from in 1996). He is like a learning sponge that can’t get enough! He is happy and alert and thirsty for knowledge and experience.  So with two of our boys, we get an immediate return on any investment we make.  With Dimitri, there’s not much immediate gratification. In fact, it’s unknown when and if there will be a return at all. This is the kind of situation that makes the carnal, fallen, human reasoning think, “Why try?  What’s the point?  What will this produce?  What good will this do?  Why not select a boy who has more potential?  This looks like a lost cause.
Two days ago we drove for hours into the Ukrainian countryside to the village where Dimitri was born. We met with officials there and signed papers and answered their questions. We also went and saw Dimitri’s house. The day had been long, we were still recovering from jet lag, I was beginning to really miss my six daughters at home and all the familiar things our fragile human hearts entangle themselves with in feeble attempts to feel secure. Sitting in the dark on our very long drive back to Novograd that night, the Holy Spirit began to whisper to my heart, and new understanding about redemption began to take shape.
I was thinking, “Man, adopting this little boy has been so much work. This is exhausting, expensive, uncomfortable … and it doesn’t feel very rewarding right now.” What am I doing in some little Soviet car in the dark, in the middle of rural Ukraine in frozen December, as the driver dodges cats and potholes? What if Dimitri doesn’t improve at all? What if we get “nothing” out of this? … Ahhh, there it was; that dark, fallen, unreedemed, selfish human love, rooted in the tree of the knowledge of “good and evil”. The love the Greeks called “erao” love. The love where we treat someone as precious and treasured for what we can get out of it. This is unlike “agapeo” love, the God kind of love that treats someone as treasured and precious for their good, not for my good. It’s when I love a person in order to meet their needs, having no expectation of them meeting any of my needs. At a whole new level, God is working His kind of love into my weak heart, and He’s using little Dimitri to do it.
On the drive home that night, the Lord whispered in my ear, “This is Redemption. Derek, do you know how far I travelled to get you and bring you back? I had to be separated from my Son, in order to get you, just like you are separated from your children in order to get these boys. Do you know how expensive it was for Me to purchase you? It cost me everything. Do you know how broken, sick, damaged, twisted, dirty, smelly, and hopeless you were? And at the end of it all, you had nothing to give me or add to me. I did it for you. I emptied myself and became nothing so that you could have it all. This is redemption.
My friends, adoption is redemption. It’s costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him. And when He redeems us, we can’t even really appreciate or comprehend it, just like Dimitri will never comprehend or fully appreciate what is about to happen to him … but … he will live in the fruit of it. As his Daddy, I will never expect him to understand all of this or even to thank me. I just want to watch him live in the benefits of my love and experience the joys of being an heir in my family. This is how our heavenly “Papa” feels towards us.
Today, settle your busy heart down and rest in the benefits of redemption. Enjoy the fruits of His goodness, and stop trying to “pay Him back”. You’ll never get close you goofy little kid.
Beautiful.  Redemption.

Please continue to pray for the beautiful children in Ethiopia who are waiting for their redemption stories to be written.  Some will have the opportunity to be adopted.  Many will not.  For every one child who leaves the orphanage to be united with his/her forever family, millions will be left behind.  Pray that regardless of the situation that is taking place within the adoption world right now, that God would continue His story of redemption in the lives of His children.  For as Jesus promises, "I will not leave you as orphans.  I will come to you."  ~John 14:18


1 comment:

  1. beautiful story of God's love...the story of Dimitri is a powerful story that should make all of us check our hearts...religion that is pure is taking care of orphans in their distress...thank you Kirsten for posting this...thank you Derek for writing this....thank you Dimitri for living this so that God can purify the motives of His Bride and prepare her for the great wedding.
    Father give us Your heart for all people.