The Decision to Help Isn’t Really a Decision

A few weeks ago we were in the waiting room of a counseling provider. We were there because we hoped to get more help for James (our son with autism). Others were there for addiction issues, family counseling, and social services. One lady knew us from church and asked how the adoption was going. I told her we may still have another year to wait due to slow-downs in the process in Ethiopia. Her mom asked why we weren’t adopting locally. I told her the conditions in Ethiopia are often worse than the conditions in the United States. She said, “I can see how you would think that, since you see pictures from Africa on TV of those kids. But you don’t see what I see right here in our town.”

It’s true. I don’t see what she sees. I couldn’t even really see the people who sat around me in that waiting room. The man in the corner who had tattoos peeking out of his sleeves and creeping up his neck, who couldn’t keep his leg from shaking, I don’t know what addictions he may be trying to overcome. The couple who came in laughing and showing the receptionist pictures of their dog, I don’t know how their handicaps affect their daily lives. Even when we sat in the private office and were asked, “Has James ever witnessed an act of violence in the home?” I don’t know how many families have sat in that room and had to answer “yes.”

But God has opened my eyes to the suffering of millions of children in the country of Ethiopia who have lost their parents. He keeps them on my mind all day long. I try their food. I pray for their leaders. I scan the headlines for news about their weather.

I think God whispers a passion for those who are suffering into all of our lives. Your passion may be for women in crisis pregnancy situations. Maybe you don’t look away when you see homeless people in your city. Your burden could be for those battling addiction. Maybe your heart breaks for those forced into sex trafficking. When you listen to this God-whispered passion, you are moved to act. You are drawn to help. Often you don’t even remember a conscious decision to help—you just find yourself helping. 

That’s how it was when we started the adoption process. It was never “if” we were going to adopt, but rather “when” we were going to adopt.

Katie Davis writes, “My family, adopting these children, is not optional. It is not my good deed for the day; it is not what I’m doing to ‘help out these poor kids.’ I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and widows in their distress. I adopt because Jesus said that to whom much is given, much will be demanded (see Luke 12:48) and whoever finds his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for His sake will find it (see Matthew 10:39).” (Kisses from Katie)

What passion has God whispered into your life? How are you acting on that passion? I would love to hear your story!