Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2,3
As a kid, I enjoyed “connect-the-dot” puzzles. They were kind of therapeutic for me as I followed the numbers until a picture finally popped out. As an adult, there is a part of me that still enjoys “connecting-the-dots” (I now call the dots, “life markers”) as clients share their stories. I also do this periodically as I take stock of where I am in my own life. ‘The story I am about to tell you (actually, it is a story within a story) is one of those “life markers” that you hardly notice when they happen. Later on, however, you realize the influence of that life marker was like something from out of this world . . . like a piece of spiritual wisdom from another cosmos.
The Background of the Story: In 1975 the American involvement in the Vietnam conflict was finally winding down. For most people in this country, it was a relief for our military to be pulling out even though we lost the war. For the people of South Vietnam though, particularly those who sided with us, it was a desperate and frightening time as North Vietnamese troops closed in on Saigon. An estimated 132,00 southeast Asian refugees fled for their lives to the United States by the end of that year. One seemingly bright spot during that time happened in April. “Operation Babylift” was activated by the US military to airlift over 3,000 orphaned children and infants out of Vietnam for adoption in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. Living on the west coast, I still remember the excitement as plane loads of children arrived at military bases. In the spirit of trying to bring good out of a bad situation, people seemed eager to open up their homes so that many children were able to be placed in families when they finally arrived in this country. It felt good to be an American again . . .
The Story within the story: About five years later we attended our first “Family Retreat.” A couple named Ken and Miji (pronounced “Mee-gee) Working were in charge of teaching the adult sessions. Ken pastored a church in the Spokane, Washington area which was near one of the Bases where the Operation Babylift flights entered the US. I don’t remember how many children the Workings had but I do remember that in addition to their biological children, they also had adopted some special needs kids. During one of the retreat sessions Miji shared their story about how they were personally impacted by Operation Babylift:
- Because the Workings had passed the scrutiny of adoption previously, they had been invited to adopt another child as Operation Babylift opened up. Miji related that they talked and prayed about it and decided adoption was not for them at that time.
- Late one night they received another phone call. The caller sounded desperate as they asked the Workings if they would at least consider fostering a child? There was one toddler that nobody would take because he was so malformed. Of course, the Working’s couldn’t refuse, so Miji agreed to pick the little one up the next morning.
- As she told the story Miji admitted fear seemed to grip her heart as she drove out to meet the child nobody wanted. As she drove she prayed, “Lord, please give me Jesus’ eyes to see this little child.” She arrived and walked into the building where she was to meet the person who called her the night before. Miji talked about sitting in a room where there was quite a bit of activity going on around her. Glancing up, she happened to notice the large dark eyes of a baby peeking over the shoulder of a woman holding him. Miji described how her heart seemed to quicken as the child looked into her eyes. Miji prayed, “Oh Lord, if only our little child would have such beautiful eyes!” Of course, the little one who touched her heart was the child that nobody wanted.
- The Working’s named him Tom and they ultimately did adopt him as their own. When we saw him at the retreat he was a healthy seven-year old with lots of energy! By that time, Miji told us he had undergone 14 surgeries to form his palate and mouth and still had more to come.
I didn’t realize it then but Miji’s story was to have a powerful influence on me. As challenges came I learned to pray, “Lord, give me Jesus’ eyes” to see another person or situation I have faced. With that prayer He has consistently provided in me a calmness of spirit and a welling up of whatever I have needed that, I can honestly declare to you, was not of this world.
What are you facing in your life right now? I have shared this story with you, as I have with countless others, to encourage you in your walk with Christ Jesus. No matter what challenge you face my prayer is that you too will remember to call on the faithfulness of the One with the cosmic eyes to provide whatever you need to glorify Him. All to His Glory!
“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” I Peter 3: 10-12