November 5, 2007

"The Child is Worth It!"

Have you ever heard this line:

"I just can't imagine bringing children into this world, as bad as things are now?"

When I was newly married, and my ear was tuned to what was being said about having babies, I heard this more than a few times. How many generations before us heard the same thing?

My marriage began shortly after the Viet Nam War and Watergate.

I know it was said after World War II. I'll bet there were similar thoughts when the Black Plague was creeping across Europe with sickness and death, and when no army could withstand the advance of the Roman Empire.

What did the first believers think when they saw Jesus hanging on the cross? Something like, "all is lost" and, "what's going to happen to us now?" And his own mother, who had to be more convinced than anyone that he was the Son of God... Imagine watching not only your son cursed, tortured and struggling to breathe his last breaths, but also seeing the "Hope of Israel", the gift of God for the salvation of the world, murdered? The priest had told her that her heart would be pierced because of her Son one day.

All was definitely lost.

But look around you. There are still children running around. God didn't take our inheritance, our reward away from us!* He didn't abandon us, or revoke His blessing from us! Jesus rose from the dead and lives to redeem us from sin today!

And God continues to give people children.

When my husband and I were nearly done with our foster parent training for the State of Oregon, we sat with a panel of foster parents. We had been drilled and trained and warned and counselled. We knew what we might be up against in caring for hurting and damaged children. There would be nothing easy about it. We'd take into our home a stranger; an abused, neglected child who had been yanked out of all that was familiar and loved and unwillingly deposited into our family...

I don't remember his name, but there was a veteran foster father on the panel - one of those people who could count up into the twenties (or more) the number of children he had welcomed. He was a man of few words, but what he said became my calling: "the child is worth it!"

Jesus gave his life for us. He demonstrated that we were "worth it". Loving others like that can come at great personal cost, but people are worth it.

We had fostered a total of ten children before we retired last spring. Each child was worth all the challenges and inconveniences we endured.

The child is worth it, because God showed me I am worth it!

*"Sons are a heritage from the Lord; children a reward from him." Psalm 127:3 NIV

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