My soul is vexed, and has been so for quite some time now. I don’t know how it happened, but I have fallen in love with two little twin boys at church who is in foster care with one of our families. From the moment I first saw them, I felt a mother’s love for them as if they were my very own. For anyone who knows me, this is an unusual reaction for me to have, because I am really not what you call a “kid person”. I rarely work in children’s ministry and honestly, kids just aren’t drawn to me. Regardless, I love these boys so much I could take them home with me today.

I could not ignore what I was feeling, and began the journey of moving forward to getting to know them and introducing them to my family, as they will be coming up for adoption soon. It has not been easy, for as I would make two steps forward, I would be met with a setback. Now I am at the point where it is looking like they are not going to be able to be part of mine or my family’s future. It is now beyond my control and the pain is almost unbearable at times. When I think of their little faces and everything they have suffered, it takes every fiber of my being to keep myself composed. Several of our families provide foster care at my church, and before this, I had not really realized the magnitude of neglect and abuse that many children suffer. When I hear about their stories, all I can think and pray is “Come Lord Jesus, come!”

While the majority of my ministry has been to adult women, I have to say the one thing that has kept me up at night, praying and weeping, is for the abused and neglected children. Meeting these boys and hearing their story has made the horrible reality of child abuse much more real, much more urgent and challenges me to do something.

Has there ever been a time when you were going through something, and it brought a scripture to your mind that described either what you were experiencing or feeling? As I have thought about these twins, my overwhelming grief at times has wished I had never known them if I can’t have them, but then as soon as I think that thought, I realize that despite the pain, their issues and the circumstances they are in, I would be more grieved without them in my life, no matter how brief it may be. That is when I realized that I have entered into their suffering.

It is this thought that brought me to this scripture:

“I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,” ~ Philippians 3:10.

In the past this scripture was like a noble aspiration to me. Oh, I want to know the POWER, the FELLOWSHIP and BECOME like Jesus, but I’ve been focusing on the wrong parts of this scripture. I can’t experience RESURRECTION without death. I can’t truly fellowship with Christ without the SUFFERING. I have achieved nothing in the process of becoming if I end up nothing like JESUS.

MY POINT: Jesus came for a divine purpose, and because of God’s Word we perceive the suffering He experienced. We, too, are here on earth to accomplish a divine purpose. We are not required to go to the cross of crucifixion, taking on the sins of this world, so we cannot truly experience Christ’s divine moment of suffering. BUT we can carry our God-given purpose (whatever our divine calling may be), taking on the disgrace of others (when we become the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need), and when we do this, we enter in their suffering on Jesus’ behalf. I understand that as Christians we may suffer persecution, but what about the sacrificial living gift of helping others when we, too, leave the comforts of our life and get down the trenches of those with messy lives? Is this not also a form of entering into the suffering of Jesus? This is what He did for us. Is this not a fellowship with Christ that we must seek?

Jesus left the comforts of Heaven in order to get down in earth’s trenches with us, and to champion our cause through His death. I am so glad He did, as I will reap the rewards of His sacrifice. Who shall reap the rewards my God-ordained sacrifice when I take on their suffering? Who will reap the rewards of the suffering you enter into on Jesus behalf?

Right now, there is a death to my hope of adopting these boys. I have entered into their suffering by bearing their little crosses, even if for now, it is only emotionally and on my knees. Only God can resurrect my hope for these sweet boys. Only God can take their suffering I have entered into and give me the opportunity to be Jesus to them. So here is my prayer: I am completely open to how God wants to use me in this twins life, if at all. I am surrendered. If I am unable to fellowship in their sufferings in the way that I hoped, then my hope rests in God’s resurrection power to act on their behalf whatever comes and wherever they are placed.

More than ever before I am discovering that knowing Jesus is more experiential than anything else; unless we sacrificially live and love like Jesus we will never realize Philippians 3:10 for ourselves, and not only would that be a disservice to ourselves, but also to those who are most in need.

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