Your love compels me, Lord,
To give as You would give,
To speak as You would speak,
To live as You would live.
Your love compels me, Lord,
To see as You would see,
To serve as You would serve,
To be what You would be.
Question: I would like to think I would do my all as you have done for Verity to help her achieve her potential if I had a [child with Down syndrome]. She is your child, your own body, most loving parents who do not abort will do that. But I am still so stunned to see you willingly adopt Katie. How do you do it? How do you find the compassion and the love to love a child who may never love you back in the way we understand love?
Answer: This is quite a question.
You know what flitted across my mind when I first read it?
You mean everyone else doesn’t think Katie is beautiful and desirable? Is it really so shocking that someone could love her?
Oh, yeah; I forgot that not everyone is looking at her through our LOVE glasses. Wow. Looking at her through those other glasses? Eeeeek, I guess she does look scary, doesn’t she? Like nothing more than a bleak list of problems to bring grinding hardship to our family for years on end. Looking at her through these lenses, my heart instantly feels weighed down by a suffocatingly burdensome sense of duty.
Sorry, I can’t bear this for one more second. I’m taking those dark, scratched, smudged, ill-fitting, HEAVY DUTY martyr-glasses off, and putting these LOVE glasses back on.
There’s my girl! She looks better already, and…huh!…so do you! Hey, we all look better when seen through LOVE glasses, don’t we?
“Katerina is nine. She has Down syndrome. ‘You don’t want to let go of my finger, do you?'”
In a flash, my eyes were opened. I understood that I was looking at my child, my own body, my own flesh and blood, a human being. I felt the same wrenching pain and grief at the Serbian Katerina being thus treated that I would feel if Verity were being thus treated.
In that flash, I knew the truth. The children in those orphanages aren’t from some other species. God didn’t design some human beings to do okay growing up without loving parents, and design other human beings to do best growing up with loving parents. Abandoned and neglected orphans with special needs are human beings just like I am a human being.
Joe watched the video. He turned to me, our eyes met, and we knew. We would adopt at least one of these little ones someday. We couldn’t stand to see what they were doing to our own flesh and blood.
In our country, children born with special needs are nearly always guaranteed access to health care and therapy to help them reach their potential. In Eastern Europe, children born with special needs are nearly always guaranteed to exist in state care and die before reaching adulthood.
Oh, my precious girl! Who would not want you? I look at your pictures and my heart hurts with the longing to hold you in my arms again.
What would you be willing to do for your child? Oh. Does that make you some sort of hero or Mother Teresa? Well, we are not heroes or Mother Teresa, either. Katerina is our child. We love her.
Does this mean we think that loving Katerina will be easy?
Listen, we have ten children. We know that parenting is not easy. We know that living closely with any human being is not easy. Living at a distance from some human beings is not easy, ahem. We know that bringing Katie into our family will not be easy. Doing what we have done to adopt her has not been easy. We know it is not easy for others to love us, and it is not easy for us to love others. We know that real love comes at a cost, and that means loss. We know real love requires sacrifice, and that means giving up. We know that it can be hard to think about cost, sacrifice, losing, and giving up.
We are not naive or starry-eyed. Real love is hard work, even when the recipient is beautiful and desirable in our eyes, and we believe with all our hearts that the hard work is worth it.
We’ve learned from experience that human love has limits. It can grow apathetic and run dry.
But we’ve also learned that the love of Christ doesn’t ever grow apathetic or run dry.
If you see more than the ordinary human love when you look at us, please follow it back to its source and understand that what you see is the love of Christ compelling us.
At this point, we’re not really sure where our human love leaves off and Jesus’ love picks up. We’ll no doubt see that more clearly when Katie wails during the whole flight home. <grin>
But please take an insider’s word for it. We can keep loving Katie, and all our other children, and never run short on love, because our inside source keeps us well supplied.
And now I have some more questions for you.
Questions: Do we consider ourselves to be Christ’s people?
Have we enjoyed the benefits of the love of Christ?
Do we understand that the love of Christ is a compelling love?
Do we understand what it compels us to do?
Well, what did Christ’s love compel Him to do?
Oh. It compelled Him to give His life for ours.
Why did Jesus give up His life for us?
To give us life? Yes, it was to give us life.
So, now we have life.
But what is it for?
Did Jesus really die to give us life so that we could tell Him thank you, and then…
…spend it trying to make self feel good in whatever way works for us? Protecting, preserving, preferring, pleasing, pleasuring self?
Could we not expect Christ’s love in us to compel us to give our life for others?
Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Jesus’ sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?*
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
*That is a link. Please click on it and watch.