Sunday, December 7, 2008

Something Is Really Bothering Me...

I hesitate to write this entry, but something is really bothering me, I really think I need to go here, so here goes… something is missing at the heart of the church. Oh…there are definitely exceptions, but by and large, there is just something missing.

It used to be missing in me…and in far too many areas, it still is, I still have a long way to go, but God has clearly been doing a work. Let me give you an example… When my cousin S. and her husband adopted their precious little girl from China, I just didn’t get it. I was happy for them, but there was something missing in my heart. I wasn’t nearly as interested as I should have been, until God called us to adopt.

After we decided to adopt, S. and I discussed people's lack of interest, and we’ve experienced much of the same thing through our adoption process. I could say the same thing of my trip to Africa, last year with Nick. People, in general, just really weren’t that interested. S. experienced that after she took a mission trip also.

Tonight, Nick and I went to a David Phelps concert (if you don’t know who he is, click on his name and check out his website…he has the most amazing tenor voice you could ever hope to hear) and he has a heart for Africa.

He is a representative for World Vision and tonight, he just poured out his heart. You could clearly see the heart of Jesus shining through his compassion for the African people. But I was stunned as I watched people get up and wander to the lobby…go to the bathroom…etc. I sat in my chair, fighting becoming a puddle in the floor…I wanted to weep at his stories. But that doesn’t mean anything special about me, before I went to Africa and saw it for myself, I probably would have been the same way.

I realize that God gives each of us different burdens and passions, but do we have to experience adoption…go to Africa…into the slums…or the prisons…wherever, to have a heart for the things that God has a heart for?

James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”

And through Jesus’ example, we clearly see His compassion for the poor and needy… He didn’t intervene in every situation that was brought before Him, just like we aren’t called to take up every cause that comes before us, but I do think that our hearts should reflect God’s heart….His compassion…His mercy.

I am so sorry for the opportunities that God has put in front of me that I have missed because my heart was too hard, because I didn’t have His heart for the things He cares about. I’ve failed to pray, to be interested, to support others walking a path of obedience that clearly reflected the heart of our Abba Father. My heart’s desire is that He would change that in me…

But what are we failing to teach in the church? Why is it that my condition of the heart is more the norm than the exception? I don’t think we have to go to Africa…experience adoption…etc. to have a heart like His…I think that ultimately, it’s about growing in our relationship with Him. The more we know Him, the more we become like Him.

Paul said in Philippians 3:8, “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…”

I think until we develop a passion for knowing Jesus that mirrors Paul's, our hearts will continue to be hard to the things that are near and dear to the heart of God.


Patientlywaiting said...


I loved this post and the last one as well. When we started on our adoption journey in 2006 it was because we felt like we had more love to give and we wanted more kids. We were doing it for us not to help orphans. With that said, adoption has changed us. Through our adoption of Claire our eyes have been opened to the plight of the orphan and God is giving us a passion for helping the least of these. When I say that Claire has made me a better person it is true. God has used Claire to open my eyes and my heart to what God wants in my life. I can no longer sit back and do nothing I must act. I'm not sure what else God has in store for us but I am willing to be used by God in a mighty way. Thanks for sharing your heart.


Leslie said...

OK, linking to this. You gave me permission before. I have been working on a post similar to this for SO LONG and I just can't get it right. This is it! Hope your permission before was "blanket". YES, YES, YES!

jan ranger said...

hi sharla! my name is jan ranger (JTM phoebe) and we are, Lord willing, anticipating travel to vietnam to adopt our little girl. she is almost four. we have four kids (3 homegrown boys and sarah who is 5, and adopted from china).

i would love to talk to you about suggestions you might have for help with attachment and bonding when you traveled. i have anticipated that moment for soooo long with excitement and fear. i pray many times a day for Him to be working to prepare her and us.

would you email me with ideas of what you would and would not do that first week? i will travel with my 10-year old and an older lady from church (i am almost 50 and was told by several to not take a girl younger than me as she would probably want to bond with her more...)

thanks in advance for allowing God to work through you to help us... love in Jesus, jan :)

Katy said...

Another touching post from Sharla. I will say it is sometimes painful and messy to really listen to God. I know I have missed so many opportunities to live a more authentic, God led life because it didn't fit in my plans. As if!! But I know the few times when I have followed when God has called (adoption being the #1 most memorable) I was changed. I think it is hard for churches to be God led. We want to be too organized and neat, looking pretty, with no stinky people. If you look at how Jesus did ministry, seems like it was pretty messy.