I don’t think we could have asked for a better journey these last four years. Almost to the day, four years ago our season as a family here in Texas began as we were welcomed openly and warmly as the newest members of the Woodlands Church staff team. The people of Woodlands Church accepted us and…
A Father’s Heart
Have you ever had one of those moments where you come face to face with a harsh reality, one that you knew existed but in an instant it becomes all the more REAL to you?
In these moments, every fiber of my being fights to put that experience somewhere. I have to do something with it. It has begun to disturb and disrupt me and is changing me at some level. Ultimately, my behavior is about to be tweaked because my world view has been radically invaded and tweaked.
I had one such moment this last week in Haiti.
Let me first say that orphans have always been real to me. I have worked with a number of organizations around the globe in their initiatives to care for orphans and the families that have taken it upon themselves to care for these forgotten and abandoned children. Even at a heart level, now having established friendships with orphans, it has been real to me. it is not as though I thought it to be some social anomaly that existed in some other place. It has been right under my nose for years.
An encounter with a 3 year old Haitian boy named Emmanuel rocked my world.
It struck a different chord in my heart.
I had multiple opportunities to pick him up, hold his hand, make him laugh, and simply do whatever I could as an english speaking “le blanc” to make him feel the love of Christ. As I interacted with Emmanuel, I saw my own 3 year old son Ethan.
That is when it became REAL.
My heart began to break as I allowed myself to engage Emmanuel, and the countless orphaned children his story represents, as a father. I envisioned my own son staying in the orphanage that Emmanuel called home, sleeping on the bed that was his, not having a mom or dad to read to him or kiss his head at night as he drifted off to sleep with a smile on his face. I imagined Ethan walking the steep hillside hand in hand with the other children as they looked out for each other…who else would? As we checked each child during a well clinic and treated their various sickness and infections, I imagined Ethan standing in line sick with any one of the infections we saw and patiently waiting for someone to help.
My prayer with every team that I lead,with every journey I take, and wherever I am in the world is that God would break my heart for what breaks His.
I have not quite finished placing this experience anywhere yet…and to be honest I am not sure I am ready to. I want to let it continue to mess with me because my heart has been softened to a new place, to feel in a new way the hurt the Father feels for these children. It has brought new resolve and a fresh reminder of why we do what we do.
So I’ll continue to wrestle. Thank you Emmanuel for revealing the heart of the Father to me in a way that you will never fully comprehend.
* This post is cross-published at WCMissions site. For more information about the work of Woodlands Church and WCMissions, visit the site here.