“Sing to God, sing praises to His name; lift up a song to Him who rides through the deserts; His name is the LORD; exult before Him!
Father of the fatherless and Protector of widows is God in His holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; He leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” (Ps. 68:4-6 ESV)
We love, serve, and follow a sovereign Creator who fights for and protects the poor and vulnerable. Jesus came to earth in solidarity with the poor and the stranger, for He came as a humble babe born to poor parents, immediately sent off as a refugee with His young family to escape a tyrant king slaughtering innocent baby boys in order to secure his throne. Sound like anything happening in our world today?
Listen for the Good News in Isaiah’s prophetic account of Jesus. Hold our vulnerable women and children refugees in your heart in prayer as you do, and notice what God wants for them.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion–
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastation of many generations.” (Is. 61:1-4, ESV emphasis mine)
Did you see it, hear it, feel it, know it?
As we meditate upon these words at the beginning of a new year…the year, God willing, the doors of Abba’s House will be open wide with welcome as a place of refuge and restoration for refugee women and their children…let us sit with this good word from our God that is just as true today as it was when Isaiah spoke it and when Jesus read it from the scroll of the prophet before a bewildered people, fulfilling it before their very eyes (see Lk. 4:16-30).
The image which stirred within me as I read these verses was one of a festive celebration, a send-off party, which is how we will end each refugee family’s stay with us as they leave and settle into their own home in Houston. I saw a woman with a laurel wreath beautifully adorning her head, in a simple yet lovely white dress flowing around her as she danced for joy and her children joined in the delight and fun of it all, rejoicing and giving thanks to Abba–Father to the fatherless and Protector of widows–for what He has done in their lives during their stay at Abba’s House.
That, my friends, is a beautiful image I desire to hold in my heart and carry with me into 2018…the year of the Lord’s favor.
The year of Abba’s House.