Holding My Hand

Tomorrow we have court for baby T.  It is 7:00 am in Ethiopia right now, and I am praying for our social worker, the representatives from MOWCYA responsible for our letter, and the beautiful, soft-spoken Ethiopian judge who presides over adoptions.  I visualize the street outside the court, the stairs, the hall, and the room of waiting adoptive families and relinquishing birth parents.  I have approached this court date as if it did not exist, keeping it only under a blanket in my mind.  I have casually referred to our sweet referral as “Maybe Baby,” not wanting to get too close if things didn’t work out.  I hesitate to even look at his picture.  I’m not sure I believed this day would come.  This morning, I started cataloging all the reasons this adoption is destined to fail.  The odds are against us.  Within minutes, before I even arrived at work, I allowed myself to become so distressed that I wasn’t sure how I would competently see my patients.  I know that our adoption agency has been suspended and that they are guilty of dishonest practices in the past.  They cannot be trusted.  I know that MOWCYA is processing only about 5 cases per day and that there is an enormous backlog of waiting cases yet to be processed.  We have failed court in the past.  All of this leads me to believe that we will not pass court this time, and then I wonder if we will ever pass court.  If we do not, what then?  Where is the baby that belongs in my empty crib?

This morning I knew that if I did not sit quietly before God that my anxiety would grow exponentially, and I would cease to function.  As I believe God would have it, I had an unusually slow morning in clinic which then gave me a completely free lunch hour.  I started my standard stress response, writing.  I haven’t allowed myself to write freely in months, but I needed to be honest, and paper is the easiest way for me to be truthful.  So, I wrote out all of my worries.  I told God that I felt I hadn’t heard from him about this adoption.  I’m not sure whether to interpret his silence as a call to trust him or a warning that things are not going well.  I have no reassurance.  I feel guilty for even desiring reassurance.  God has blessed my life over and over; I know the scriptures, and I know that he is faithful.  I have no justification for demanding even more proof.  Even so, God chose to meet me in my office.

While I asked questions and begged God to bring our baby home, I struggled with doubt, worried that we will be struck down and be out one trip to Ethiopia, several months of waiting, and several thousand dollars (these are compelling reasons, by the way, that we deserve to get our baby, as if we really deserve anything, but if I were in charge . . .).  I added up all the reasons that we should pass court, as if I could really earn the right to parent this child.  I asked God to give me peace.  I asked myself if I am really convinced that the Lord is good no matter what.  I know that if our son ever comes home it will only be because God ordained it.  Do not fear.  I wrote all of this down in a little Clairefontaine spiral notebook.  I flipped through an ESV Bible that I downloaded to my iPad as I wrote.  I settled in Isaiah, one of my favorite books, and randomly selected chapter 40.  First I came to Isaiah 40:5, “the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  I know that God’s will is his will.  No purpose of his can be thwarted.  If this is our baby, nothing will keep him from us.  I came to Isaiah 40:31, “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.”  I read on, and this passage grabbed me:

“For I, the Lord your God

hold your right hand.

It is I who say to you

‘Fear not

I am the one who helps you.’”

Isaiah 41:13

As I wrote, ballpoint pen in my right hand, I saw my Lord.  Why do I doubt?  He is here.  I confessed my doubt and praised my Lord for seeing me and meeting me in my little office just to hold my hand and reassure me that he is good.  Does this mean that we will pass court tomorrow?  Not necessarily, but it means that God will only allow what is necessary.  He only delays if his timing requires it.  He only says “no” if he has something better planned.  I don’t know his plans and purposes, but I know that they are good and that they will be accomplished.

This is my desire, that the adoption of my children brings glory to God.  Years ago, I thought that was a silly idea.  How can a minuscule, faulty human bring glory to the God of the universe.  Now I understand.  We glorify God any time that we reveal his character to others.  We glorify God when we make him known.  I pray that our adoption and the lives of our sweet children bring glory to God.

I began by writing questions.

“I the Lord will answer them.”

What now?

“I the God of Israel will not forsake them . . .  that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it” (Isaiah 41:17, 20).

I asked the Lord for peace, and God has granted me the thing that I asked of him.

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