Would you move into that neighborhood?
This morning, I described the neighborhood where little Song spent the first year of her life. After writing the blog, I felt the heaviness of my words.
About ten years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to spend a few months traveling in South Asia. We went to Pakistan and I remember driving through Karachi in a taxi, seeing the slums along the Layari river. The poverty there is as absolute as anywhere in the world. I remember the feeling of wearing a veil, peeking out the windows of our taxi, watching little children play in putrid water.
When I read about places like Kisenyi, I feel the same way: like I am peering from behind a veil, through a dirty window. I know the poverty is real, but I don’t get out of the car. I don’t take off my veil. I certainly don’t move into the neighborhood.
But Jesus does.
The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood. John 1:14
Jesus moved into the neighborhood. He left everything behind to move to a place as horrifying and disgusting to him as Kisenyi is to you and me. He left heaven to dwell with broken, poor people, like you and me. Do we understand that apart from Jesus, no matter how comfortable our lives may be, we are just like people in Kisenyi? We have no way out. There is nothing we can do to rescue ourselves from sin, suffering and death.
But Jesus moved into the neighborhood and rescued us. He adopted us into his family. It cost him everything. And he gives us everything.
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. Ephesians 1:3-8
If we struggle to understand why we should care about people in places like Kisenyi, here is the answer. We care because God cared first. We love because God loved first. We go because God went first.
And we adopt, because God has adopted us.