Chin quivers and tears stream slow as our nineteen year old tells of yet another rejection. Our hopes had been high. A nearby cabinet assembly factory needed help and the employment agency sent Zach, informing him it was a three week stint with opportunity for hire. We were all elated.
And then the balloon full of hope popped.
The three week stint lasted three days.
Our son, with invisible challenges stemming from prenatal exposure to alcohol, has never had a job. He’s hardly had any interviews. Not for lack of trying. He has applied everywhere we can think. He has enlisted the help of two employment agencies. Why does no one want him?
We live on a horse farm and we see first-hand how hard Zach works. Cleaning horse stalls and paddocks, hoisting hay bales, mowing pastures and trails in summer, snowplowing long gravel drive in winter. The list goes on and on.
Why does no one want him? Yes, he has issues. He has multiple challenges stemming from prenatal exposure to alcohol, birth trauma, and spending the first four years of his life in a Russian orphanage with meager care.
My mother heart hurts as I watch my boy trying to launch into adult life but unable to find his wings. College didn’t work. He doesn’t know what he wants to do except to make money.
So though it might sound trite, I hug him and say it’s not true. It’s not true that no one wants him. God wants him and I want him and the rest of our family wants him. And that’s a big start. That must count for something and comfort somehow in the loss. But I wonder . . .
What deep wounds linger and surface and burn every time there’s a rejection? Who would know, looking at Zach today, that his birth mother tried to rid her body of new life growing when she was but nineteen—his age today. He survived—barely. Something went horribly wrong and birth mother ended up in hospital where Zach entered the world not breathing two months premature. Revived and removed—mother’s rights terminated for proven attempt to kill—he went to live in an intensive care unit for several months before being transported to his new home—an orphanage for sixty children under the age of six on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, Russia.
And there he waited like all the others. For four years he watched like all the others. Couples came empty armed and left full. The children knew what it meant every time a new couple came. I saw it in their eyes both times we were there. Children’s eyes longing—arms reaching—orphanage worker pulling clinging girl off my leg as she cried, “Mama!” Were they thinking, “No one wants me” every time another couple left without them—every time another couple left with one of their friends instead? Our Anna was six before we came and had been passed over many times. She remembers best friends leaving, never to be seen again.
We all want to be wanted. We NEED to be wanted. But sometimes, in some stages, it’s hard to hold on. It’s hard to believe we’re wanted in the midst of human rejection.
Christ knows. He was rejected. He was well-acquainted with grief.
Christianity is the only religion that has a God who came down to the rejected. He reaches down to lift the lowly—to heal the brokenhearted—to claim the abandoned and unwanted. Our God is not the kind who makes us measure up—makes us apply for a position—who decides who gets in based on performance or looks or social status. Our God doesn’t wait for us to get up and reach up. He reaches down like the apple tree.
Fruit held high on branches lofty may look beautiful but who can pick? Who can access such heights? Our God doesn’t wait for us to build ladders to the heavens and ascend rung by rung. He reaches down. He offers His goodness to the lowly. He feed all who will come and receive freely. The God of the universe reaches down, down, down. He reaches into our most desperate, down places and offers Himself—all He possesses.
I want you.
And I still want you even when no one else does.
I don’t expect you to climb a ladder to perfection because I know you can’t. I know your legs are broken. I reached down and bent low. I walked the earth to feel what you feel, to know what you know, to seek and save the lost—the lonely—the lowest.
So, for now, there’s no job in site. But who we are—our worth—is not determined by a paycheck. Who we are—our worth—is determined by a God who reaches down and feeds when we’re hungry and shelters when we’re weary and raises when we’re wrecked. With every bit of God-fruit born on a cross-tree hung, He tells us . . .
Can that be enough in our times of wanting?