By Chris Cox
My 7-year old daughter is sitting close to me as Back2Back Director, Todd Guckenberger, walks to the stage to launch the Back2Back Orphan Sunday event. It is a crowded room of more than 400 people. Some, like Kara and her mom, are curious, with no Back2Back experience, yet they are here because Kara has signed up for a mission trip, and her mom wants to know more. Others mingle with old friends as advocating for the orphan child has been a part of their world since Back2Back was in it’s infancy. The front row is filled with high school students, ready to worship and to serve. The rest of the seats are a melting pot of individuals, families, and church groups.
Our view in the room gives me insight into a story that is unfolding around us. Everyone in the room is huddling together to pray for foster care, adoption, and the global orphan. I watch as two couples huddle to pray. This huddle catches my attention because it carries the mark of the Storyweaver. Two months ago these individuals were strangers, but through a trip to Mazatlan, Mexico with Back2Back, and a shared burden for children with special needs, these couples are crying their way through their prayer as they ask God to defend the children of Mazatlan by name.
It is in this moment that my daughter leans in close to me, and I ask her to pray with me. Her response is to pray these simple words, “God, love the orphans like my daddy loves me. Amen.” I sit in this moment, realizing this Orphan Sunday event is a moment in time that God peels back heaven a little to remind us of how He is intertwining our stories, redeeming our brokenness, and challenging us to give to others that which we have been given. I think about Kara and her mom, thankful that someone invited her to join this story, for a huddle of former strangers who are fervently praying as friends for the orphan child, and for dad who is reminded by his little girl of what the fatherless have been robbed of. The film 1/163,000,000 brings the night to an epic climax as the transparency of Shannen’s story brings the room into the broken, redemptive, unfinished story of an amazing young woman. My little girl and I stand and watch, tears in our eyes, saying to God, “Here we are God, pick us.” Days like Orphan Sunday are important because they give us pause, gather us together, and create space for God to remind us that He is faithful to His promises to the orphan child.