Look to Jesus
Carinette has a spark in her. A look. A bounce in her step. A light in her eyes. She is one of fifty-seven children in the Haitian orphanage: all dark skinned, bright eyed, curly haired, Creole speaking, and fun loving. Each one is precious. But this seven-year-old stands out from the others. Not as a result of special treatment. She eats the same rice and beans as the others eat and plays on the same grassless playground. She sleeps beneath the same tin roof as the other girls, hearing the nearly nightly pound of rain. Her routine is identical to the other children’s. Yet she is different.
The reason? Ask her. Ask Carinette about the visitors who traveled from a faraway world just to see her. They were looking for a girl, a little girl, a girl just like her. They knew her name. They knew her favorite song. They knew that she loves to look at books and jump rope. And, in a moment that changed her forever, they invited her to live with them.
“They are coming for me,” she will tell you.
Ask to see the pictures of her soon-to-be home; she’ll show them to you. Fail to ask; she’ll offer to show you. Her adoptive parents brought her pictures, a teddy bear, granola bars, and cookies. She shared the goodies with her friends and asked the director to guard her bear, but she keeps the pictures.
They remind her of the father who knows her. They remind her of the home that awaits her. The photographs convince her to believe the incredible: somebody knows her name and has promised to take her home.
As a result Carinette is different. She still lives in the same orphanage, plays on the same playground, eats in the same cafeteria. But her world changed the day she learned that someone faraway knows her name and is coming for her.
Might you be willing to believe the same?
Are you open to the idea of a Father, a heavenly Father, who knows you? A soon-to-be home that awaits you? Would you consider this life-changing idea: the almighty and all-knowing God has set His affection on you. Every detail about you He knows. Your interests, your hang-ups. Your fears and failures. He knows you.
About His children God says,
The Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. — 1 Chronicles 28:9
He regards you as “the apple of his eye” (Zechariah 2:8). He can “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15 NKJV). “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me…” King David wrote, “You knew my path” (Psalm 142:3 NKJV).
“He knows the way that I take,” declared Job (Job 23:10 NKJV). Do you know this God who knows you?
He knows your name. And He can’t wait to get you home.
I came to know the story of the Cap-Haïtien orphan, not by traveling to Haiti, but by standing in the church foyer. I’m a pastor. Like other pastors I like to greet people after church services. And like other pastors I am a captive audience for parents and grandparents who want to show off new additions to the family. I’ve held more babies than I can count and looked at more pictures than a photographer. But I can’t recall ever being more surprised than the day Dan wanted to show me a photo of his new daughter.
The girl in the photo smiled a big smile, wore a pink ribbon, and had skin the color of chocolate.
The guy who handed me the photo smiled a big smile, wore cowboy boots and a hat, and had skin the color of Casper the Friendly Ghost.
That’s when I heard about the orphanage, the trip, and the decision to expand their family by adding one more face around the table. He scarcely took a breath for the next five minutes, telling me all about her hair, eyes, and favorite color, song, and book. He couldn’t stop talking about her. He was crazy about her.
Might you believe the same about your Father? This is the ever-recurring, soul-lifting message of Heaven. “The Lord delights in you” (Isaiah 62:4 NKJV).
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. — Isaiah 43:1 NKJV
I have written your name on the palms of My hands. — Isaiah 49:16 NLT
The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy. — Psalm 147:11 NKJV
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. — Psalm 37:23-24 NLT
Do such words surprise you? Where did we get this idea of a God who does not care, who is not near? We certainly didn’t get it from Jesus.
Jesus Christ is the perfect picture of God. Just as Carinette had her photos, we have Jesus. Want to know how God feels about the sick? Look at Jesus. What angers God? Look at Jesus. Does God ever give up on people? Does He stand up for people? Find the answer in Jesus.
The Son is the radiance and only expression of the glory of [our awesome] God... and the exact representation and perfect imprint of His [Father’s] essence. — Hebrews 1:3 AMP
The pictures inform Carinette’s thoughts about her home-to-be. She’s not home yet. Within a month she will be, maybe. Two at the most. She knows the day is coming. She knows the hour is imminent. Every opening of the gate makes her heart jump. Any day now her father will appear. He’s coming. He promised he’d be back. He came once to claim her. He’ll come again to carry her.
Till then she lives with a heart headed home.
Shouldn’t we all? Carinette’s situation mirrors ours. Have we not been claimed? Are we not adopted children?
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, ‘Abba, Father’”. — Romans 8:15 NLT
God sought you. He searched you out. Before you knew you needed adopting, He’d already filed the papers.
For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. — Romans 8:29 NLT
Abandon you to a fatherless world of tin plates and hard bunks? No way. Those privy to God’s family Bible can read your name. He put your name in His book. What’s more, He covered the adoption fees.
God sent Him [Christ] to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children. — Galatians 4:5 NLT
We don’t finance our adoption, but we do accept it. Carinette could tell the Johnsons to get lost. But she didn’t. You can tell God to get lost. But you wouldn’t dare, would you?
You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. — Galatians 3:26 NLT
The moment we accept His offer we go from orphans to heirs:
You are His heirs… — Galatians 3:29 NLT
Heirs! Heirs with a new name. New home. New life.
Heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. — Romans 8:17 NKJV
Heaven knows no stepchildren or grandchildren. You and Christ share the same will. What He inherits, you inherit. You are headed Home.
Oh, but we tend to forget, don’t we? We grow accustomed to hard bunks and crowded classrooms. Too seldom do we peer over the fence into the world to come. And how long since you pictured your future home? Is Peter speaking to us when he urges,
Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. — 1 Peter 2:11 The Message
Like Carinette we are adopted but not transported. We have a new family but haven’t met all of them yet. We know our Father’s name, and He has claimed us, but He has yet to come for us.
So here we are. Caught between what is and what will be. No longer orphans but not yet home. What do we do in the meantime? Indeed, it can be just that — a mean time. Time made mean with disease, deceit, death, and debt. How do we live in the meantime? How do we keep our hearts headed Home?
Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. — Hebrews 12:2 NCV
Look to Jesus. Ponder His life. Consider His ways. Meditate on His words. Jesus. Just Jesus.
That is the aim of this book that you hold. It contains both published and heretofore unpublished thoughts about the life of Christ. With these words may I offer this prayer:
May the Hero of all history talk personally to you. May you find in Jesus the answer to the deepest needs of your life. May you remember your highest privilege: you are known by God and cherished by Heaven.
Keep an eye on the front gate. Your Father will show up to take you home before you know it.
Excerpted with permission from Jesus by Max Lucado, copyright Max Lucado.
Listen to Excerpt from Jesus by Max Lucado
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Are you caught up in the meantime? In the truly mean time? No matter what our current circumstances are, this isn’t Home if we have asked Jesus to be our Savior and received His free gift of a heavenly Home with Him! You are cherished by Him! Peer over the fence and look forward to Home! Come share your thought on our blog. We want to hear from you about Jesus!