Monday, August 15, 2011

Celebrating in Community

The Bible is big on community. That's why the term "Biblical Community" is getting so much play in recent years. I think that's a great thing. However, over the last 2 years God has taught me and my family how to live in transparent and authentic Biblical community in a way that we have never experienced before... heck, we didn't even know this kind of community was possible. It is frustrating, heartbreaking and often very messy. It's family. You get the good and you get the bad. But, you get it all together under the Lordship of Jesus.

Well, yesterday we had the opportunity to live out the "good" part of Biblical community. Those who follow The Pathway pretty closely have probably heard about Gene before. Gene's 59 years old, has a grown son named Joshua with cerebral palsy and is raising his twin 5 year old daughters all by himself... that's right, all alone! I can't even imagine. The girls mother is in Tacoma and Gene knows how to find her. But sadly, she is living on the streets, stuck in the grasp of addiction.

What many people don't know is that Gene has another son, 7 year old Malachi. When Gene was with the girls mother they had Malachi but through a series of circumstances Gene found out that Malachi is not his biological son. This was a crushing blow and due to some other extenuating circumstances Malachi has been in foster care for several years. Well, over the last year Gene has given his heart and life to Jesus! Gene was baptized on Easter and has been giving everything... good and bad... to the Lord.

He had been told he wouldn't get Malachi back and the best he could hope for was an open adoption. But Gene continued to come to our Community Group with transparency about the entire situation... and we prayed. We kept praying together through visits and court appearances. Several adoption possibilities fell through and then Gene told us that at a recent court appearance the judge told CPS that even though Gene wasn't the biological father, he was the only Father Malachi had ever known. Gene is doing a great job with his girls and the judge told CPS that they needed to find a way to get Malachi home!

We all responded with shock and amazement and to be honest, on my part there was some skepticism. How could this all just come together after years of not happening? Duh Bobby... Jesus! We continued to pray as a community. At one point the church pitched in some finances to get Gene out to eastern Washington to visit Malachi and one of our other Community Group members watched Gene's girls for him while he was going to court hearings. Finally, last week the order came. Malachi is coming home the first week of September!!! God is so good and so faithful.

At one point it looked like it was imminent that Malachi was going to be adopted by a lesbian couple, now he is coming home to be raised by his adoptive Father... a follower of Jesus. We finally got to meet Malachi at worship yesterday as he was home for his first visit as they slowly transition him to living with Gene full-time! I am humbled and amazed. Our Community Group got to see over the course of months the faithfulness of Jesus in the most bleak of circumstances. There were times we were frustrated, times we lost faith that this could happen, but God had a plan and the celebration is so much sweeter in the context of transparent and authentic biblical community!

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