I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. ~Jesus (John 14:18)
I spend a lot of time thinking about orphan-hood. Milton and I are known for our love of the orphans through the work of Make Way Partners, but our experience of our call—our vocation—is not confined to our job. God has gifted us with orphaned dogs, cats, turtles, and most recently a horse. The horse’ name is Rusty the True.
“The True” is because Rusty’s previous handlers severely beat his head, snuffed his nose near to the point of suffocation, and twisted his ears with a device known as a twitch—purposefully used to cause such immeasurable pain that a half-ton creature of God is rendered powerless—but still, Rusty has not sold out. He’s a little crazy, a lot afraid, and highly defensive, but when I am able to catch his eyes—even for a brief moment—I see he is all there. Somewhere deep down inside he remains intact. Whole. True.
Even with all his suffering, Rusty is not broken. Nor has he submitted to evil’s intentions toward him—to make him stumble along as a dumb shadow of the wild and glorious animal he was created to be. He holds deep resentment in his face and body, yet his eyes stay alive, hungry, searching—discerning even—of my intentions as I dare to approach him. My horsemanship coach says, “He’s a horse looking for a chance. He’s just never had one.”
The truth is, I look into Rusty’s eyes, and in many ways I see myself. The crazy: oh yeah. The fear: only daily. Highly defensive: that’s me…yet, by the grace of God, I’ve been given so many chances. Even my book Passport through Darkness‘ subtitle is A True Story of Danger and Second Chances. Life is so very dangerous…failed relationships, broken hearts, lost babies, crippled minds, hurt feelings, damaged goods.
Recently, Fox News Radio Host Vipp Jaswal did an hour-long interview with me, probing deep into my personal life. I shared about repetitive childhood abuse and the devastating impact on my life.
Vipp asked me a very important question, “So in some ways, when you rescue an orphan, are you really trying to rescue some abandoned part of yourself?”
To which I answered, “Definitely! I am not noble enough to throw myself into harm’s way—whether that be in a war zone or in front of a half-ton traumatized wild-thing—simply for the sake of the other. Somewhere deep inside, I know that it is through the very act of reaching out for the orphan in another, that I rescue the orphaned parts of myself. The parts that are bound in resentment, fear, defensiveness, or shame. I also know that if I do not continue to reach out to the lost and abandoned, I will be more than troubled. I will wither…completely dry up…and be lost in evil’s intent against me.”
John 13:21 tells us, “Jesus was troubled in his spirit.” Then just a few versus over, Jesus tells his disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Jesus knew the abuse of this world too, and yet, He shows us the Way to live, to wholeness…to the abundant life: to give what it is we need, to share what it is wewant, and to do for others what it is we desire to have done to us.
No wonder Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” In so many ways, He is telling us, “You are troubled, pained, lonely, abandoned, betrayed, and afraid? I was also…remember Me in the Garden of Gethsemane? Don’t worry. Here is the way to restoration…just as the Father came to Me in my pain, I will come to you in yours. So send I you to go…to care for the troubled, pained, resentful, and fear-bound fatherless of this world. Through this love of another, you will rediscover the lost within you.”
If you missed my Fox News Radio interview with Vipp Jaswal, you can click here to listen to it now:http://foxrad.io/1pxbDc6
Kimberly L. Smith is the founder of Make Way Partners, a ministry to orphans in the Sudan. She is also the author of Passport Through Darkness, A True Story of Danger and Second Chances.