My Life for Yours
By Kinsey Thurlow on February 5th, 2013

After being adopted internationally just one year earlier, his adoptive mother now made a disturbing call to social services. “I just don’t want him. I wanted a baby, but I ended up with a three-year-old. Find another place for him.”

With this heavy injustice bearing down on him, his would-be-mother rejected him, his great fault being that he wasn’t the child she had dreamed about when she signed the adoption papers.

To ease our hearts, I’ll tell you that things turned out very good for this little boy in the end, and he was placed in a very loving and godly family.

This young boy’s story makes me think of another. There is a true and ancient story that tells us of two women, very distressed in spirit, who come before their king, each asking for justice.*

“Oh, my lord,” the first woman raises her anguished voice, “this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child whiles she was in the house. Three days after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth to a child, but her son died in the night, and she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while I was sleeping. She then laid her dead son beside me. When I woke up the next morning, I saw this baby beside me, dead, but he was not my son.”

The other woman heatedly broke into the story line, “No! The dead son is yours, and the living one is mine!”

“No! The dead son is yours, and the living one is mine!” the first woman painfully retaliated.

The king looked at the two women standing before him, peering into them, seeing more and beyond the story that had been recounted to him.

“Get me a sword,” came the king’s unexpected command. The women watched, wondering, trembling, as a sword was brought before the king. “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one and half to the other.”

“No!” the first woman cried out, overcome with fear and sorrow. “Oh, my lord, give her the child. Just let him live!”

The second woman crossed her arms proudly, “Divide him! He won’t be mine or yours!”

King Solomon then tipped the scales of justice, and the child won. “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him. She is the mother.”

So what are the similarities between these two very different stories, one of a present-day adopted boy, and the other an ancient story of a newborn baby?

Both of these boys, in need of justice, lay under the same question—Who is my mother? Who will really love me?

Before being approached by these two mothers, King Solomon had recently made a very high and noble request of the Lord, asking Him to give to the king discernment to understand justice. And the Lord gave him what he’d asked for, giving him a wise and discerning heart, so that there was no one before or after him that possessed such great wisdom. Appropriately, King Solomon’s first test of wisdom after making this request came in the form of a helpless baby, one who had no voice, whose life lay vulnerably in the hands of the one who was to decide—What is justice?

In essence, the second mother wanted to adopt this baby and raise him as her own. But as Solomon questions both women, the motives of this would-be-adoptive mother are exposed, and true justice is discerned.

As is the case for both boys, the motives for their adoption are surfaced. Both adoptive mothers were looking to satisfy a need within themselves. They were motivated by something other than the love and life of a child.

So as we consider the fatherless, in need of families, the love of the Father must be our pure and dominating motive to reach them. These young ones come to us as children, poor, empty-handed, vulnerable, and often very wounded. They cannot hold up under the burden of meeting our needs, whether it be our need to be rescuers, or to know a child’s affection. God alone is meant to satisfy the needy places within. For when we are being filled with Him, it is only then that we can pour out.

So may see these children in their need, never expecting them to meet ours, and declare with emboldened weakness, “My life for theirs.” For this is our story too. It’s the declaration of God’s own heart towards us — My life for yours. With a heart full of perfect love, with no unmet needs prompting Him, but being driven by holy and pure desire, our God pursued us. While we were still helpless, sinners orphaned from the Father, Christ died for the ungodly. His life for ours, giving us the adoption as sons.

To truly love these who are poor, we, too, must become poor, recognizing that we, in and of ourselves, have nothing to give them. But O, our Father, He is so rich, and He has so much to give –to us and to them. We must first recognize our need before we can effectively attend to theirs. Our need is not met in a child but in knowing the Father. And we’ve been urged to give them something not of ourselves, but of our Father. Our love to them must be His, unearthly love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, overflowing and compelling us to do what we cannot do without Abba.

*Story retold from 1 Kings 3




February 5th, 2013
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