Eugene Cho

The power of the Gospel is such that God sees us, meets us, and adopts us as sons and daughters.

BabyFeet

The power of the Gospel is so profound that it meets us where we’re at. The power of the Gospel is such that God knows everything about us and nevertheless, continues to pursue us, court us, woo us. God remains jealous for us. This is the power of the Gospel…

The Gospel sees us.
The Gospel meets us in all of our brokenness, sinfulness, and depravity.
The Gospel meets the lost and brokenhearted.
The Gospel welcomes the sick, the lepers, the widows, orphans, the AIDS stricken, the ostracized and marginalized…
The Gospel even welcomes us.

When we receive the Gospel, the power and grace of the Gospel is such that God adopts us as His sons and daughters.
The Gospel is Jesus and Jesus is the Gospel.

This truth was especially revealed in a powerful way through an experience and conversation I recently had this weekend and further affirmed through a video I desperately invite you to see below.

First, the story:

This past Saturday evening, I spoke at a “Family Camp” in the Camp Cascades retreat center where numerous churches from the Northwest gathered. After my sermon, a family came up to greet me. It was an older couple and they were pushing along a very large mechanical wheelchair. To be honest, it was large and impossible to miss. In this wheelchair was their 19-year-old son who I’ll refer to as “John”. As we talked, they shared how something I preached on deeply resonated with them. It was the point I was making about our human inability to look at people in the eyes – especially those that don’t fit into our boxes of “normal.” They shared the pain of how literally none of the adults had asked about John thus far at this “family retreat.”

This, it itself, convicted me. I had noticed John but I didn’t bother to take the time to say hello to him or ask of his story.  As I shared earlier, it was impossible to miss him – not only because of the humongous mechanical wheelchair – but also because of his heavy breathing. While I was preaching, I could occasional hear his heavy breathing.

So, I asked this older couple,

“What’s your son’s story? What’s John’s story?”

Over the next couple minutes, they shared a glimpse of John’s story. John is paralyzed, deaf, mute, mostly blind. He is only able to feel some touch. They explained that when John was three months old… Just three months old…his biological parents pummeled him to near death. Doctors estimated – at best – he might live another month or two.  When this couple heard about his story, they chose to adopt John in hopes that for the remaining weeks of his life, they simply wanted to convey to this little baby a glimpse of beauty; a glimpse of what God intended; a glimpse of love.

John is now 19. His life is a miracle but even beyond, his adoptive parents’ love is a greater miracle in that they chose to adopt him as their own and love him. This is probably not what they had in mind for the second half of their life.

This is the power of the Gospel.

The Gospel sees us.
The Gospel meets us in all of our brokenness, sinfulness, and depravity.
The Gospel meets the lost and brokenhearted.
The Gospel welcomes the sick, the lepers, the widows, orphans, the AIDS stricken, the ostracized and marginalized…
The Gospel even welcomes us.

When we receive the Gospel, the power and grace of the Gospel is such that God adopts us as sons and daughters.
The Gospel is Jesus and Jesus is the Gospel.

Secondly, read this letter.

I wanted to share this heartbreaking letter from one of my congregants, “Lindsey”, who work at an adoption agency. With her permission, I wanted to share a note she shared with me. The note is full of emotion. In fact, I couldn’t help but weep – for this family, for this child, and for my congregant but I was particularly gripped by this portion of her letter: “No child should die for lack of a family.”

If we are compelled by the Gospel that adopts us as sons and daughters, may we live out this Gospel through our lives. I am not suggesting that all of us ought to consider adoption but all of us must consider the impact of the Gospel in our lives. If the power of the Gospel has been made known and real to us, how then does it change us? How then does it compel us? How then does it call us to be agents of this Gospel?

In short, how then do we live out this Gospel?

Hi Pastor Eugene,

Thank you so much for your email, and prayers, both are very much appreciated.

I’m doing alright. Any job has its highs and lows, and in this line of work the highs are so beautiful and fulfilling, and by nature then the lows can be incredibly heartbreaking. I’ve had to walk families through some difficult times before, but never something like that. This family had adopted from Thailand before, and though they came back to adopt from Thailand again, when they realized their only option there would be to wait three years for a baby, they decided to adopt from a country where there are children waiting for families. I had watched this little girl wait for over two years, and get passed over time and time again for children who were younger, cuter, less delayed. This family immediately fell in love with her. They saw past the shaved hair, and the lazy eye, and just saw a little girl in need of a family. It had only been about a month since I sent them her file, but when I told them the news it was clear that it was no less tragic for them. Part of what makes it so hard to understand was that it was so unexpected. We have families adopting children with serious heart conditions or blood conditions, but she just had cerebral palsy. All the orphanage said was that she became ill and passed away, and knowing the realities, it’s likely that she passed away from some common, preventable, treatable childhood illness.

There’s not much you can when you’re delivering news like that, and the mother was crying so hard she couldn’t speak either, but we’ve emailed several times since then and they’re doing alright. Our agency isn’t Christian, but she brought up her faith before, so we’ve been able to talk from that perspective, which has been healing for me, and hopefully them. If anything she’s been ministering to me. They’re the nicest people and she repeatedly has said she’s praying for us, that she knows how hard it must be after working so hard for these kids. They are still moving forward in their adoption, they know there are many other children in need of families.

I would love continued prayers for encouragement and healing, for this family and myself. If anything, this makes me more determined to advocate for the children who are waiting. No child should die for lack of a family.

I believe in a gracious God, so I believe “LQ”  is with Him. Nothing about her life on earth was easy- it was difficult to walk, to talk, to learn, and doubtless difficult to grow up without parents, but I trust she is healed now.

– Lindsey

And lastly, please watch this video.

Watch it because it will help you to be more human, to give you a glimpse of the impact of adoption, and illuminate the essential point I’m trying to make in this post:

The Gospel sees us.

The Gospel meets us in all of our brokenness, sinfulness, and depravity.
The Gospel meets the lost and brokenhearted.
The Gospel welcomes the sick, the lepers, the widows, orphans, the AIDS stricken, the ostracized and marginalized…
The Gospel even welcomes us.

When we receive the Gospel, the power and grace of the Gospel is such that God adopts us as sons and daughters.

The Gospel is Jesus and Jesus is the Gospel.

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13 Responses

  1. Michele says:

    Thank you for this. Truly.

  2. Daniel says:

    Thank you for this encouraging post and reminder of the power of the Gospel/the goodness and power of God.

  3. John Mark says:

    I’m eating by myself in a restaurant and reading this post and watching the video and I’m crying…people are staring. Haha. Thank you pastor Eugene for sharing.

  4. Grand Canyon says:

    These stories are inspiring. Just one question. How does the gospel meet the parent who is worn out with the special needs and no family help? How does God deal with frustration and fatigue in this caregiving calling? When there is no happy ending, only deterioration?

    • Eugene Cho says:

      I have no easy answer for you.

      The Gospel meets us, sees us, and accepts us. And I also believe it remains with us – not with promises of perfection, bliss, and constant delight but remains with us through the frustration, fatigue, and “deterioration.”

      I believe the promise of the Gospel is that despite all those things, there will come a time when God will restore all things back unto himself.

      So, we press on. We persevere.

  5. Clay says:

    Thanks Eugene for the post and the video. This adopted family is truly beautiful.

  6. Steph. Chang. says:

    Thank you so much for writing this, Eugene. You have personally walked with us and our extended family through a crazy journey of faith as my sister adopted four last year…Thank you for being such an advocate and for continuing to open our eyes and hearts. Also in regards to the video…. I think we need to have tissue boxes under our seats at church, like many other churches do (or at least when you show a video like that, that truly touched and convicted many).

    • Eugene Cho says:

      Steph: Thanks for this note.

      “Crazy” does not do justice do their journey and story. But I believe that God will honor them and their commitment to be a presence to all their children and family.

  7. Dylan says:

    It’s great that the gospel “meets” people, etc…

    It would have been better if God had sent His angels to stop the biological parents from pummeling their own life and blood.

  8. I was at Cascades Family Camp, and saw that 19 year old man in the motorized wheel chair. I felt convicted as I read your posting about John’s story, and how the Holy Spirit ministered to his parents through you. I must confess, I ignored the prompting to go over to him and connect while at family camp. I did have an opportunity, but did not act upon the nudging. I am praying that God will allow me to have an opportunity to look into the eyes of someone severely handicapped as a “second chance” to do the right thing. Thanks for your honest sharing. I was deeply touched to know of this young man’s story.

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We have to remind ourselves of this truth every day lest we forget:

Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant.

Be faithful.

PS: Also, it helps to get some Vitamin D especially if you live in the rainy Northwest Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

Join his campaign as he's inviting his fans to donate just $7. - http://onedayswages.org/jlin

Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

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#jeremylin #jlin #linsanity #onedayswages Don't be held captive to either praise or criticism.

Know who you are.
Know what you're about.
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The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
In honor of Sahara...and so many other women who keep...keeping on. I have to remind myself of this every day...because I can forget every day:

Don't be lazy and make assumptions about people. Ask about their story. Then listen. Be humble. Be teachable. Be human. Be a good neighbor.

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