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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This week I was blessed to see one of the prettiest pictures I have ever seen in my life. It wasn't of a sunset, a rainbow, a water fall or anything like that. It was something even better. It was a photo of what salvation looks like. "A photo of salvation?" you might ask. Yep. A photo.

You see, one of my best friends and his wife are in the process of adopting a young girl from Africa. My friend has been there on a mission trip and he came back with a tremendous burden for the children of that continent. So many of those countries are torn by civil war and conflict. Africa is a tough place to live because of the natural challenges. When you pile war and disease and millions of refugees on top of it, you understand why so many tens and hundreds of thousands are dying every day in that land.

My friend saw enough on his mission trip. So he came home, sat down with his wife (they have 3 children of their own) and decided that being concerned was not enough. They would do something more tangible to bring relief to at least one child. That's where Georgia comes in...and the photo. After months of paperwork and red tape, my friend is in Africa this week meeting Georgia for the first time. He will have to stay there for a few weeks to finish up all the requirements and help Georgia with acclimation to a new parent. Prayerfully, by the end of this month, Georgia should be close to being in her new home.

While he is in Africa, his wife is here in Nashville keeping the home front moving along (did I mention they already have 3 kids?). She is also keeping all of their prayer partners updated on their progress. Monday, I got a photo of my friend and his new daughter.

I saw salvation.

When I first opened the pictures on my computer, my breath was taken away. There was my friend--very white (sorry dude), red hair, glasses and a smile as big as the Sahara on his face. In his arms was Georgia--beautiful eyes, deep dark skin color and a smile twice as big as her dad's. And two thoughts struck me. No two people ever looked more like family. And she couldn't do anything to deserve any of it. She--frail, malnourished, young and innocent--had done nothing to earn the love that had reached across the Atlantic to the orphanage she called home. She had no ties to my friend or his family. She has absolutely nothing to offer him...except that smile...and her life.

Somewhere in time (something that I can't begin to comprehend) God saw me across the "ocean" of space. I was frail and malnourished. Nothing I had nor nothing I could do would have deserved what Christ did for me. Somewhere in heaven though, God smiles with delight. The day I received His love--His completely free gift--my snapshot went on His wall. There we sit together, captured for all the world to see, one Father and one completely helpless child. Matching smiles and all, God displays His children as trophies of His amazing grace and love.

My friend will be home soon (not soon enough for his wife). Won't you pray for them? And won't you pray for all the children of Africa, young and old, looking for their fathers? While you are at it, say a prayer for the young and old all over this world, looking for home? The Father waits to hold them, to know them and to love them. What a homecoming it will be for them ...and us!!

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