There are things in life that gut punch us. They rob us of our breath, shock our system, and bring all conscious thought to a standstill.
Eventually, the questions come even if the breath can’t seem to catch up. Thoughts race and reality seems a nightmare that we can’t out run.
Last Saturday, we received news of a major car accident involving one of our students and his father. It was only a matter of hours until the father was taken to be with Jesus and a new reality was forged.
He was a man who was highly active in our church and in the adoption community. He helped frequently with youth events and we had the privilege of his presence on two of our mission trips. He was a man of godliness, wisdom, kindness, and love. He was a good husband and a loving father to 13 kids — 8 of whom still live at home.
I can’t even begins to imagine the grief or the changes that his family has to deal with. I ask that you pray for his family and if you desire, here’s a link to the GoFundMe campaign for his family.
While my own story isn’t quite so severe, I’m no stranger to asking God, “What the heck!?!”
Ours is a story of adoption or the lack there of. Although we are two years past the event, I’ll never forget the e-mail that ended the journey.
After two and a half years, we were out a lot of money, time, and energy but more than all of that, we still had no child in our home driving us crazy, making us laugh, or sharing our love.
The door was shut and dreams had to change. The faith that we started the journey with seems to fail us and we were only left with questions.
So, what happens when the door is shut? What happens when faith fails?
There were a lot of questions when things started to shut down. God why did you lead us here only to shut the door in our face? Did we hear you wrong? Why did you let this happen? Aren’t we being obedient? Isn’t God supposed to defend His children?
I knew one thing and one thing alone —
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. Isaiah 55: 8 (ESV)
This is not how I would have had things happen and this is not what I thought would transpire. When I considered how God was going to be glorified though the process it was going to be with His bring in finances at the right time. We would have a child and a testimony that proved God provides. But God’s plans are different than mine. His ways don’t match mine.
With this foundation truth in place, I reminded myself of three other truths from Scripture.
1. God’s plan will see the light.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19: 21
I still don’t understand how He is going to use this for my good (Ro 8: 28) but I do know that His purpose will prevail. The plans were many in my mind. There’s a room painted for a children’s bedroom to prove it.
Psalm 138: 8 tells me that He will “fulfill His purpose for me.” There is no guarantee that He will fulfill my purposes for me. Only that He will fulfill His purpose. His purpose will stand.
2. He knows what He is doing and that His plans are good.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29: 11
His plans give me a future. They give me a hope. They give me peace but His purpose is something more.
3. His purpose for me is to bring Him glory.
Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. Isaiah 43: 7
God formed and made each person. And each person was created for His glory. My life is not my own. I was bought with a price (1 Co 6: 20). With my submission to His leading, I’m choosing to allow God to glorify Himself however He sees best. My prayer must always be —
Not as I will, but as you will. Matthew 26: 39
Jesus prayed these words just before He was handed over to be crucified. Jesus was the Son of God. He knew His purpose for coming to Earth. He knew the manner in which He would bring glory to God. Still, He had to pray, “not as I will, but as you will.” I am not God. I do not understand how He will use this situation for His glory. I simply have to trust that He will.
I believe; help my unbelief! Mark 9: 24
It’s now been more than two years since our adoption closed. We still have a quiet house since medical issues make it nearly impossible for me to conceive. We occasionally bring up adoption again but that’s where it ends — in conversation. We still don’t know where we go from here. Questions still file in and answers are in short supply. And doubt frequently becomes a unwanted house guest.
However, I remind myself often of my of choice —
I can choose to let the situation alter the God that I know or I can allow the God that I know to alter the situation.
It may by that my faith falters and even fails. I may question and doubt. Situations may cause me to scream at heaven.
However, when I stop long enough to remind myself that He doesn’t work according to my ways I’m left with one sure thing — the one in whom my faith rests has never failed. He remains forever faithful.
He can take this time when it seems that faith has failed me and use it to bring about something great. Nothing surprises God. He knew how this situation would transpire long before we started on our journey for children. He also already knows how it will all work out.
I can lose hope and faith or I can cling to what I know. And I know that God is always sovereign and faithful and good.