Friday, May 9, 2008

For The Joy Set Before You (FF #1)

I told you guys I'm reading Fields of the Fatherless (have you bought it yet?). Deep stuff. . the kind of stuff that you underline almost everything and have to take it to Jesus to chew on!

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2

On the other hand. . . .I have 3 friends right now talking about or pursuing adoption / foster care. One pursuing foster/adopt for a baby or toddler, one for foster/adopt for a teenage boy and one consider adopting an HIV+ child from Africa. ALL 3 women have gotten these comments, "do you know what you are getting yourself into?", "but, what if the mom exposed them to drugs?", "this is going to be really hard", "I've heard of people adopting teens who go on to kill them all", "what if the baby you adopt comes here to die a horrible death?".

JESUS, For the JOY set before Him, endured the cross for us. THE JOY, did you read that part? JOY!!! Joy in following the Lord, Joy in redeeming us, Joy in changing the course of history. For the Joy set before HIM, he CHOSE suffering. I live my life with gratitude that Jesus didn't listen to those who would have said, "it's not worth it". He didn't equate JOY and EASE. In fact, the greatest Joy was found in the cross. So, then WHY do we not live life like that? Are we that selfish? Is our comfort that pricey? Are our tears that valuable that we would rather let a little child DIE alone, in the dirt, hungry and hurting in the middle of Africa than hold her head and whisper words of Truth to her in the midst of her pain. That we would rather watch the fatherless continue to grow up alone. That we would say that teenager, JUST MIGHT cause me trouble. That we would CHOOSE not to enter the suffering of our world. Is that the kind of people we want to be? Is that the characterization we want of our church, HIS BODY in this world?

The truth is that to enter the world of the orphan, the widow and the stranger (whom God talks about ALL throughout Scripture and commands us to minister to) requires some pain, some discomfort. I had a friend tell me recently that all this talk of starving children in Africa was "a real downer". Yes, I know. But, Jesus did it. He entered our world of suffering to save us. I am eternally grateful that He chose to leave perfection, Heaven, a place of privilege and blessing to enter the world of poverty. To be born a baby in a barn. To die on a cross. For the Joy Set Before Him.

The question is WHAT do we set before ourselves? 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, "So let us fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For, what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal." IF, my eyes are on Jesus. On the JOY Set Before Me, I will choose to suffer with the least of these, to be uncomfortable.

Where in your life do you need this truth to permeate? Where are your eyes fixed on the temporary, the seen, the circumstances? Where can we, as believers, join Him in choosing to suffer with the least of these, to care and do something (no matter what!) For the JOY Set Before Us?

9 comments:

Art Teacher said...

Before I say anything else, WOOHOO, I'm the first person to comment on one of your posts! . Now for the real reason, thank you so much for that post, I needed to here it, after spending a entire day being selfish. You are quite a gal, with a heart well focussed. I hope I'm like you when I grow up! Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Great reminder that we so often forget-"for the joy set before us" not the comfy life of ease here.
I had a similar instance where a friend asked me not to keep forwarding her the stuff on orphans as it was too hard to look at--that's part of the point it SHOULD move us out of our comfort zone!
Thank you for keeping the focus on Jesus!
julie

spjpc said...

My friend, Missy, sent me a link to this post. Thank you for sharing your heart with the world. Your words are a real encouragement to myself and my husband. (I had to call him in here to read it too, because it was that good!)

the albertsons said...

wonderful thoughts sweet brandi. I agree fully. I'm so sad when people talk about the inconvenience we'll be bringing upon ourselves if we adopt, or move to Africa, or whatever. "oh, but why would you do that to yourself? what if blah blah blah???"
sometimes I want to scream at them.
I might post this on my blog, giving you credit of course. If I remember to. I'm sleepy!
love
becca

Nikki said...

I am glad you liked the blog :) It was definitely a ton of research, but I had fun doing it and am looking forward to Christmas time to use it as ideas for my shopping :)

Amy said...

Hey!

Yes, Angel did invite us to Orlando! FUN!
Lets do be friends... I need to read more of your blog(S) too. You have A LOT of blogs! I just glanced at your Drink Water blog... fascinating and would love to know more about this! Have you heard of Families For Africa? We are a part of this site too... You would enjoy it I think... www.familiesforafrica.org

I am going to read more of you story now. :)

Danielle said...

Love that book!

Thanks for the information. I checked out the blog...it's awesome.

Missy said...

Brandi, This is my all time favorite Brandi musing. Love it, Love it and will probably re-read it many time.

Happy Mother's Day.
Love, Missy

Ginger said...

I am just reading this a year later and it has resonated and filled my heart. I have always felt God pull me towards doing His work with orphans, particularly those with medical issues, and I was often too selfish to heed that call. It has grown to a roar in my heart and I feel if I go any longer without doing this work I will be in direct defiance of God's call in my life. Thank you for your gift, your eloquence, and your fight for these children. I consider myself blessed to be called to work alongside women like you. You sharpen me across time and space. God bless you!