Last year, instead of giving up something for Lent, I decided to commit to doing the daily Lent devotionals offered by She Reads Truth and sharing what I had learned from them on the blog as a way to strengthen my walk with God as I explained here. I had every intention to do the same this year as I found it to be very rewarding. But I confess, the desire was there but the discipline was lacking. As Ash Wednesday rolled around, I found myself being distracted by the busyness of life and putting other things first before my time with God. It’s one thing to simply meditate on the Word, and quite another to be able to articulate what I’ve learned in a coherent way on the blog. I have to admit that I felt uninspired and it was starting to feel like an obligation.
I felt like I needed a push. I needed the Holy Spirit to move me or just give me a big kick in the butt really. And that kick came in the form of a movie called The Drop Box. I went to one of the exclusive showings of this documentary two nights ago with my husband and it was certainly an eye-opening experience, if not heart tugging and hopefully, permanently convicting. The Drop Box is a documentary about a South Korean pastor who decided to build a “baby box” in the front part of his church building in order to rescue unwanted babies that would otherwise be abandoned in the streets of Seoul with very little chance of surviving. There are obviously many socio-political controversies that have stemmed from this but I’m not here to talk about those things. I want to talk about the heart of this humble servant and all those involved in this ministry, including the children he rescues.
Pastor Lee Jong-Rak of Jusarang (God’s Love) Community Church in Seoul says that he learned about the dignity and inherent value of human life through the birth and life of his son, Eun Man, who is physically disabled and bedridden due to his condition. He confesses that as soon as Eun Man was born, he asked God why he gave him a son with disabilities. Within a few seconds of this initial thought, he repented and thanked God for his son. Because of his physically challenged son, Pastor Lee was able to develop a heart of compassion for those who are deemed imperfect in the eyes of society. He was able to see them thru God’s eyes and love them unconditionally. He considers his son, Eun Man, the catalyst that moved him to build the “baby box” for the abandoned children of Seoul. He calls his son a “great teacher,” who despite his physical challenges, often manages to offer a smile. Pastor Lee has taken in over 380 unwanted babies and continues to do so today. He lives with nine of his adopted children. When asked why he had decided to adopt these babies, he says, “Because God has adopted me.” His statement is echoed by the Scripture verse that is painted right above the baby box door, “For my father and mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in” (Psalm 27:10).
Pastor Lee and his wife have adopted nine of the children that he has taken in since the inception of the baby box back in 2009. All of them live with some form of disability from Down’s Syndrome to many other congenital defects. With the help of volunteers, they raise, care for and love these children. In our human eyes, these “imperfect” children appear to have little or nothing to offer the world and seem to lack a purpose in life. Pastor Lee says it’s quite the contrary. To him, they are perfect and he calls them “the educators of society” because they teach us things that can only be learned when deeply felt in the heart such as compassion, gratitude and unconditional love. They remind us that every human life is precious to God, that every one of us has a special purpose for which God created us, and most importantly, we were all, every single one of us, created in the image of God.
Brian Ivie, the director of The Drop Box traveled to South Korea in 2011 with dreams of creating a Sundance worthy documentary and came back with a heart for God. As he spent days with Pastor Lee and his children, sleeping on the floor like they did and going thru their daily routine, he learned that there are two types of people in this world, “people who help and people who are helpless.” He didn’t know at the time what kind of person he was. It wasn’t until he heard a sermon back in the States about Jesus becoming sin for us that he was broken and realized that even though “all he had to offer a perfect God was sin, in turn God gave him everything.” He realized that he was just like one of those children, that he has his “disabilities and deformities, but they were all in his heart.” God gave him a new heart that learned the true meaning of unconditional love as he witnessed the Pastor give everything to these children who might never know and be able to thank him for what he’s done for them. As humans, it’s easy to love those that are lovable and can reciprocate that love in one way or another, but only thru God’s heart can we love “the unlovable” without expecting anything back.
This whole experience made me think of Matthew 25 where Jesus talks about the parable of the sheep and the goats. In Matthew 25:40 it says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” This is a good reminder that God acknowledges and remembers every good work we do in His Name. The verse that really convicts me though is Matthew 25:45 where it says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” This points to the fact that there is sin in inaction. There is such a thing as sin of omission, the failure to do something we know we ought to do. In James 4:17 it says, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
I humbly ask that you pray for me and we can pray for each other that our hearts will be convicted by the Word of God, by the urgings of the Holy Spirit, and the experiences that God places in our path so that we can open our eyes and be convicted in our hearts to act in faith for His glory. I hope and pray that we can all remember God’s words in James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
To learn more about The Drop Box and get involved in making a difference in the lives of these children, “the least of these,” go to www.thedropboxfilm.com.
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