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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One Day’s Wages

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Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer. Seattle. 7:00pm. Desperately holding on to summer. #goldengardenpark #nofilter Happy Birthday, Minhee! I'm so grateful for you. You radiate faith, hope, and love.  No...you don't complete me. That would be silly and simply humanly impossible but you keep pointing me and our family to Christ who informs and transforms our lives, marriage, family, and ministry. Thanks for being so faithful. I love you so much. (* And what a gift to be in Korea together.)

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