The Gospel Come to Life (Ch. 10)


“Twenty-seven hours after leaving China with our new daughter Xiaoli, we finally pulled into our driveway. After weeks of meetings, paperwork, hotels, and airplanes, home sweet home was like a dream come true, particularly for Xiaoli, who had no concept of a home other than her crowded orphanage.

James rushed inside ahead of us and made a beeline to Xiaoli’s bedrooms, dragging her in tow. In his broken deaf speech, he screamed and shouted to his new little sister, ‘Yours! This yours! This yours!’ Pulling Xiaoli’s shoes out of the closet one by one, James set them carefully in front of her, signing and shouting ‘Yours’ all the while. Jerking open her dresser, he began to pile the clothes around her in mounds, still screaming ‘Yours!’ at the top of his lungs.

It was quite a sight. Xiaoli was sitting there bewildered–surrounded by shoes, clothes, teddy bears, and toys. Meanwhile, James was dancing around her room with the sheer joy of a man who’d just discovered gold. In that moment, James saw something that the rest of us missed. While Beth and I were preoccupied with unloading the car and getting dinner on the table, this little boy understood the radical change that was taking place in Xiaoli’s life.

He had lived it.

As James pulled out Xiaoli’s shoes, clothes, and toys and showed them to her one by one, my son opened my eyes to the gospel. On a very deep level, James understood that his little sister was starting a new life. Far more than just a roof over her head, shoes for her feet, and clothes to put on her back, Xiaoli Carr was now part of a family. She had a new name, a new identity, a new home, and a new future…

As James danced around his new sister shouting, ‘Yours! All yours!’ I couldn’t help but think of Paul’s words to the Corinthian church, ‘There for, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things’ (2 Cor. 5:17) Like James, Paul was saying, ‘It’s yours! Everything the gospel has to offer you is yours!”

“Ultimately, orphan care is a gospel issue”

The passage above comes from Johnny Carr’s last chapter in Orphan Justice. In his final thoughts of the book, he boils everything down to the simplest analogy: salvation. Can you see the similarities in all of our stories? How we needed rescuing. How we needed to be joined with our Heavenly Father, adopted into His family and offered an eternal home. How this is all made possible through Jesus’ sacrifice…Maybe, today, you just need to be reminded of the joy that accompanies salvation. But let us not forget God’s command to us to care for the fatherless. We have His example to follow. Let our own adoption into God’s family overflow our hearts with a love and burden for the millions of children in need of an earthly home and family that will teach them the love of Christ.

Recognizing that this is not simply a social justice issue but a spiritual battle is crucial. When you minister to the orphaned, you are taking a direct stand against the schemes of the devil (Eph. 6:12). Here are some practical steps Carr gives to consider in moving forward.

  • Fast and pray for the aspects of orphan care and the orphans themselves
  • Pray for the families involved with or in the process of adoption
  • Ask God to show you specific ways for you to minister to the orphaned and vulnerable children in our world.

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world

James 1:27