By Mark Canady, District Representative, WEstern District
A Strange Adoption from a Hard Life
Years ago, my family adopted Warren. It was a strange adoption as he was in his mid-70’s when we adopted him. The adoption only because we were sent by Village Missionaries to establish a church in Pacific City, Oregon.
Warren had lived a hard life, filled with rejection. Married at least two times, there was a longer list of that of relationships that didn’t pan out.
While in the service during World War II Warren received a major injury to his head. This caused him to black out from time to time. In 1970, as he sat smoking in his lazy boy chair he blacked out. He dropped his cigarette on the chair which caught on fire. Ninety percent of his body suffered severe burns. As the doctor worked on Warren he said to the people helping him, “This man isn’t going to make it.” Warren cussed him out and said, “I’m going to live!”
He did live, only to have his second wife come into the room and say, “Look at you! Look at you! Who would want to spend the rest of their life looking at that?” Warren said, “You’re free to go.” With that she took off her wedding ring, tossed it on his bed, turned, and walked away.
He spent most of the next three years in the hospital. When he was finally dismissed from the hospital, he had lost his right arm and part of his left hand. He was scarred from the neck down.
A New Family
He moved to Pacific City and to the best of his abilities avoided people. As time passed a number of people befriended him. He broke out of his shell enough to move around Pacific City. He especially liked to hang out at the donut shop and sit at what he called, “The Liar’s Table.” This is where I first met him. He was there eating a maple bar–an older man with prosthetic hooked arm. I sat down, visited with him and invited him to church. He told me, “I’ve been thinking about going to church. My mother was a real Christian woman.”
Six months later, he came. After service, he came up to me and said, “I told you I’d come, and I’m here to keep my word.” He started coming to everything we had. Then he was missing one Sunday. We discovered later that he was in the hospital. I shared in our worship service that Warren was in the hospital, and then I went down after our services were over. We had a nice visit. I read from the Bible, prayed with him, and before I left told him I’d see him tomorrow. He told me, “I didn’t call you so you’d have to come all the way down here. I just didn’t want you to think I was cutting out of church. You ain’t gotta come down tomorrow.” Before I arrived back on Monday, several people from our church had visited him.
Warren was overwhelmed by the love of this body of believers and could not believe it. When I walked in the door for another visit, he said, “Why would a guy like you take an interest in an old man like me?” To this I shared with Warren that I was there because of what Christ has done for us on the cross.
Christ’s Love Is Different
“Warren, God doesn’t love you like your wife, who decided she couldn’t stand to look at you. Her love was conditional. But God loves us unconditionally. God looks not at the outward appearance, he looks at the heart. When we have placed our trust in Christ’s finished work on the cross we become acceptable to the Father.”
Shortly after my conversation with Warren, he put his faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. For the rest of his life he was always overwhelmed that God could love such a sinner as him.
Have you embraced God’s love for you? Have you taken it for granted? Maybe we should all asked God this question, “Why would a Holy God like you take an interest in an old sinner like me?”
“But God demonstrated His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)