Jorani doesn’t know what her future holds, but she knows God has a plan for her.
We can stay a part of her story line and other rescued slaves by praying for their re-entry into their families or villages, for their health and the healing of their memories. We can pray they can grow and develop a healthy family. Most important, we can pray they understand their Defender God loves them deeply.
I have a God-story in my own family that made me eager to share Joseph and Ben’s. It was in 1997 that I first heard the beat of my adopted son’s heart in my own. I didn’t know his name, I didn’t know how old he would be or when he would come, but much like a mother can feel a baby kick, I felt him kick in my heart. He was real to me, and I wanted to meet him.
Evan came into our family as a baby the next year and is now in high school. His story line blending with mine is one of the greatest blessings God has ever given me! I love how God knew that although Evan was born in another country, he was always intended to be my son. As anybody who has gone through an adoption will tell you, there are too many details that have to come together for there not to be a Storyweaver orchestrating it all!
Ben and Joseph’s parents had to find themselves at the same place in the same time, fall in love, get married, have a heart for adoption, then Ethiopia, then not just for one, but for two—and all at the exact time Ben and Joseph, in separate stories, were released for adoption.
Whew! All of that doesn’t just happen! And though we may read about them and think God wrote that story just for their family now, I’m sure their story will go on to impact Ben’s future grandsons and Joseph’s future neighbors or employees. God brought them here to set off events we can’t even imagine yet! He knew he wanted those stories told in this setting, so he took the hard and used it for his good.
That’s God’s way. He can’t help but redeem and repair and reconcile and restore and rescue. It’s his Defender nature.
We all have things that make life challenging for us. In Antonio’s case, some of those things are obvious when you meet him; for many others, those things are hidden. We might be shy, or struggle taking tests, or feel anxiety for no reason; we might have trouble reading, or have severe allergies. None of us is struggle-free. One of the reasons Antonio’s life touches everyone around him (and everyone who reads or hears his story) is that he reminds us that each person, in God’s eyes, is deeply valuable.
It’s why I love the Bible story of Mephibosheth, a young disabled boy who was the son of Jonathan and the grandson of King Saul. After his father died, he was forgotten and left behind. But he, like Antonio, was rescued, and was given a new family, and a place always at the king’s table. Our Defender-Kinsman defends the value of all people and gives us way more than what others think we are worth, and certainly more than we deserve. We can follow his example and do the same!
I can’t wait to see what God is going to do through Antonio, but it’s not to be measured by human standards. He doesn’t ever have to do something great for us to say, “Ahh . . . now I understand why he was spared.” He was spared simply because God loves him as his son and has stories still to be told through him on earth. Once those stories are over, God will bring him home. Antonio can’t earn that kind of love and doesn’t deserve it. None of us does—and that’s the miracle.