Pure and undefiled religion. It’s a catchy phrase that draws us in.
But it’s wrapped in tragedy.
Children with no parents, whether through death, neglect, or abandonment.
Women with no husbands, whether through long periods of sickness or untimely accidents.
It’s the very things the Enemy uses to make us question the goodness of God.
In our First Day Gathering this week, we read from Psalm 107:
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
For his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom he has redeemed from trouble,
And gathered in from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
As we discussed these words from David, I knew that I would have to put them in my heart and simply commit to believing them. Because bad things happen, and that’s when I wonder why a Good God allows such terrible things to play out in the lives of His people.
The next day, my husband brought me some of that disheartening news. With a shaky voice, he gave me an update on the situation surrounding a mutual friend of ours.
Evan Rector was in a motorcycle accident two months ago that nearly took his life. He lost an arm and a leg in the accident, and has been working through rehabilitation since.
He was scheduled to go home on Monday, his father’s birthday. That morning, his father was killed in a bicycle accident involving a vehicle.
If ever there was a story so unfair…
Evan and his wife were in college with me, but I don’t claim to know either of them well. I don’t know his brother or his mother personally, either.
But I know the Enemy. And I refuse to allow him to make us question the goodness of God.
Gavin and I have been preparing an Instagram Auction this week in order to raise funds for our adoption. The response has been unbelievable, and we have been so floored by the open-handedness of so many.
I’ve spent countless hours behind the computer screen this week, responding to emails, connecting with shop vendors, organizing a spreadsheet. But no matter the amount of generosity that has flooded my inboxes, I have not felt an absolute peace.
There’s been a part of me that just wasn’t quite ready to open this auction. And as I typed in the 62nd entry this evening (SE Asia time), it was no coincidence that James 1:27 suddenly settled on my heart.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans AND widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
I’ve read and talked and advocated for orphans until I’m blue in the face and you’re sick of hearing my pleas. But tonight this verse convicted me in a tangible way.
There’s a widow who needs our bent ears, too.
Gavin and I feel led to support two scenarios through the funds raised this weekend: both a life that through tragedy is joining a family and a life that through tragedy has left a family.
Sometimes the way the Father works through Scripture is indescribable.
When Gavin told me the news about Evan’s father, I was sitting on my front porch with the Word opened to Romans. As if it was instinct, my fingers flipped to Psalm 107 just as we had studied the day before. I had no words, so I began reading out loud.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
And he delivered them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destruction.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
For his wondrous works to the children of men!
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And tell of his deeds in songs of joy.
It’s Inspired Words that keep the Enemy out of my heart. And it’s the love and kindness of people that keep me turning to my Maker.
Let’s be a resounding voice that squashes our doubts with Truth and our fears with Grace. The Kingdom of God is always at hand.
Undefiled religion is within our grasp.
It’s not too late to take part in the Instagram Auction starting tonight (Friday, December 5) at 7:00 PM CST. Every penny raised will be used to defend a fatherless child and a grieving widow. The sale will run through Sunday, December 7 at 5:00 PM CST. You can find us at @pinkstons_adopt.
If you do not have an Instagram account and would still like to give to this fundraiser, you can donate via PayPal to LMPINKST@clemson.edu. We will divide any donations through the weekend between our adoption fund and a contribution to Mrs. Rector.
Thank you for loving well. Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in us.