I have a secret to confess. There have been many times in my life I have dismissed thoughts or actions to help, encourage, or get involved because of five simple little words: Somebody else will do it. As quickly as I think the words, my motivation to step up, to get in the mix, or to do something dissipates.
I’m released from feeling like I should. All guilt is gone. Because really, with so many other Christians out there, surely God has someone else in mind who could do it. Somebody else who is better suited. Somebody else will do it.
And that has alleviated me from guilt many a day. Too many days.
I was scrolling through Facebook, enjoying status updates and friends’ pictures, until a link came through an adoption network I follow telling the story of a young man who has been in foster care his whole life. Moved from home to home, no family, no permanency.
And although I’ve heard similar stories — my husband Kyle and I have been foster parents for more than five years now — something about this young man’s story moved me.
You see, this young man had a plan to find a family. And one Sunday morning this past September, his social worker took him to a local church where he stood up during the service and asked for a family. Any family. He said he would be so grateful. He would “be the best he could be.”
And as I read, tears began to fall. Never mind that this boy does not live in my state. Never mind that we are getting ready for a baby. My heart broke.
As my husband picked me up that evening, I burst into tears while telling him this young man’s story. “You must read it,” I said.
The next morning as we sat down for coffee, I started up the computer and brought the story up for my husband. And together we talked. What could we do? Surely, others have stepped up to help?
And then I said it: “It doesn’t matter if others have stepped up. We need to do something. I don’t know what, but something.”
And Kyle agreed.
We talked about how struck we were that a young man would ask “the church” (meaning us, as Christians) for help and yet walk away empty-handed. Despite the fact that, so often in scripture, we are called to care for orphans. How Christians should be at the forefront, leading the way on this issue. How God has adopted us into his own family; how could we not be willing to do the same?
Haven’t we all been rescued?
With shaky hands, feeling completely unsure exactly what to say, I wrote an email to the foster agency this young man belongs to. I asked how we could help, told them we were foster parents, and was there anything we could do?
And then I sent it. And I haven’t yet heard back. I don’t know what their response may be.
All I know is that today I put away the reasoning, the excuse that somebody else will do it. I decided, instead, that I needed to be that somebody.
Because this is the person I want to be.
Because yes, there are times that there may be somebody better suited to step up.
But maybe, more often than not, we are that somebody.
“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3-5, MSG)