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how long, oh Lord?

I lean over in bed and look at the clock. 4:30 a.m. Again. For the twenty-second day in a row, I’m awake before the sun has even considered making its glorious appearance.

I lie there. I start counting sheep; they say that works. One, two, three, four, five…It doesn’t work. I tell my brain to not think about anything, to sleep. I need sleep.

But it never comes.

And I’m tired. Exhausted, actually.

I lie in my cozy bed with the wonderful new cotton sheets and my mind cannot stop racing. There is no pause button. I think about people in my life–those who are truly amazing and an absolute blessing, and those who choose to use vicious words and spew hatred (always via e-mail, of course).

I toss and turn and think about the few who have been less-than-supportive as we add two more beautiful children to our family. Those who have chosen to be silent at a time when support would mean everything to us.

I wonder, “How can they not get it?” “How can they question what we’re called to do in this life when they have never set foot in an orphanage where children’s hands are tied behind their backs in order to restrain them? A place where adults are forced to squeeze into old, tattered clothes made for a five year old!?”

How? I seriously feel like screaming!

I push aside the hurt. Because it sure does hurt like heck!

And my heart is in my throat. Every minute of every day. I think about Kael and Hasya. I think about where they are and how desperately I wish I could just have them here with us instead of knowing where they presently live. Knowing makes things so much harder.

It’s excruciating, thinking about our 14-year-old daughter lying in her crib day in and day out, chewing her calloused hands for something to do, in constant pain from a fractured femur which she has to live with, and with such severely contracted joints that she can barely even move anymore.

And our Kael—an 8 year old boy with Down syndrome who has so much potential–imprisoned in a freaking mental asylum where the conditions are unfathomable!

And the whole messy, painful, disturbing, inhumane situation brings on fresh tears. Again. Because life is so darn unfair and children are treated in ways our human hearts cannot comprehend.

While people question what we’re even doing by trying to save these two lives.

While pettiness and ridiculous politics and arbitrary feuds and slander and gossip and all the things which get put high on pedestals are the order of the day.

And nobody wants to talk about the hard things. The painful things. The injustice. The things which MUST make us uncomfortable enough so that our hearts are stirred to do something about it!

Nobody talks. Lord forbid we offend.

The tears. They freely flow.

Because no child should ever, ever have to endure such pain, such unfathomable suffering. No child should ever be deprived of sunlight, of arms to take them out of a crib, and of the basic right to enough food to sustain them….while many of us in our churches consume ourselves with building funds, more comfortable new pews, the latest and greatest sound and presentation equipment, and the upcoming potluck that must be bigger and better than the previous one.

And children perish in faraway lands while many of us turn blind eyes and say, “Sorry, not my problem! We’re too busy with our own agendas.”

Redecorating our foyer matters more.

That humongous new screen is what we need to make this church grow.

I think of all the times when we, as a family, have failed so miserably. The times which are too many to count. The countless moments when we have felt His still, small voice nudging us to do something more for the cause…and we failed. Again. We forgot about the command to care for the fatherless—whether it be helping others on their mission to rescue a precious one, praying for their need, sowing financially into a ministry that helps children living in desperate situations in a Third World country, loving those who have adopted by simply sending a word of encouragement.

Forgive us, Father. For we know it’s not a “calling” to care for the orphan…it’s a requirement.

And I struggle to come to terms with the fact that sweet and precious and amazing children will be sentenced to life in a mental asylum like where our Kael lives TODAY. It’s a death sentence! A miserable, senseless, incomprehensible death sentence…because no one comes for them. Nobody cares to rescue them BEFORE they get transferred from the baby house…to a place where only the fittest can survive.

And so they’re literally discarded in the same way we Americans drop off an unwanted sweater at Goodwill.

Deemed worthless!

Somebody else’s problem, thank you very much!

I lie in my bed. Haunted by their sweet faces. Desperate to do more…and more. I think about each one I met, touched, laid hands on, prayed for…and begged the Father to take home to be with Him. I wonder. Is he still alive, the precious one with untreated hydrocephalus that has left his head the size of two watermelons? That amazing little boy. Created in the image of a God who adores him. His head literally splitting open and oozing water and blood from the extreme pressure it can no longer contain. Incomprehensible suffering!

Did you hear my prayer, Lord Jesus? Is he running in heaven even now? Free from the pain and the suffering? Is he? Please let him be! Please!

I beg the Father for mercy, even from my own bed…ten thousand miles away. Because that’s the only thing I know to do. And still, I feel so desperately helpless.

I cry once more because deep down in my heart it all feels so overwhelming.

And I wonder again. Will the situation only ever fully change when Jesus returns to make all things right in the world? How long will children languish in cribs and how long will adults live out their days in horrendous mental asylums–playing in filthy dirt and rocking back and forth, back and forth for any kind of stimulation?

How long will it take before the church rises up in enormous numbers—the mighty army of the Living God ready and willing to go to the ends of the earth to fulfill what He has COMMANDED us to do?

On days like these I understand how David felt in his heart in Psalm 13 when he cried out to the Lord, “How long, oh Lord?”

The weight of it all–it all feels so overwhelming.

The whole lot of it.

And I wonder once again.

“How long, oh Lord?”