I went to a wedding the other day...
Not just your average, run of the mill, beautiful wedding. It was at a stable... a horse stable. And it was quite possibly the most special wedding that I've ever attended.
You see, Rachel was getting married. And to fully appreciate the day, I have to tell you a story...
Rachel is a special person. She spent the last year and a half of her life hidden away in Africa. She and her friend Mandie had gone there, or so they thought, to help establish a medical clinic. As teams of doctors from the States would come and go, Rachel and Mandie were the constant. They had committed a year of their lives to overseeing the clinic, stocking the pharmacy, training the staff... all the things that nurses are trained to do. Meet physical needs in hopes of tending spiritual needs.
They had hardly been there any time at all when...
"You might want to check on those newborns in the clinic," commented a rotating doctor on his way out of the country.
So they did.
And all of their lives were changed forever.
They arrived at the clinic to find the babies too weak to cry, lying in a puddle of their own waste. It's not that their mother didn't care, but she was dying herself.
So they did something radical.
They took them home. Home.
And they became their mothers. They simply did what God had, before the foundations of the world, designed them to do:
They loved. They nurtured. They gave life.
And we got to be a part of the journey... Rachel had started a blog before leaving for Africa... In her Small Ripples, Rachel poured out her heart to God and to many of us. It became a lifeline when it seemed like one or the other of the babies wouldn't make it or hadn't slept, or ran a fever... or the girls hadn't slept or ran a fever...
But they all survived.
And with love, and prayer, and medicene, the twins began to thrive.
Rachel loved those babies like her own.
She considered adopting them; but knew in her heart that it would be best if the twins had a mommy and a daddy. So she and Mandie began to pray for families for the twins as well as the other infants and children that began to stream into their strapped little family. And somehow God engineered those "littles" into the hearts and home of a loving family on the other side of the planet.
More radical hospitality.
...but getting back to the wedding. You see, unbeknownst to Rachel, a certain young man had begun to read her blog...the brother of a dear friend from college.
And what he saw in those few words... was Jesus. And he fell in love.
Long story, short: They got married last week in a stable.
And guess who were the ring bearer and flower girl?
For this is true religion, "to look after orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27)
ROMANS 12:13 Practice!