It has been interesting to read and hear the responses to my last post "Wrestling With The Devil". I have learned that people can use your honesty about being fearful to either encourage you or shoot you when you are down. Most of the comments have been so positive, incredibly reassuring and authentically warm. I have to admit to not being prepared for some of the more negative responses. One person responded by saying she had been praying and praying for us to finally see the red flags in what we were doing and then asked if there was any way we could help without bringing those two boys into our home.
Well, I guess we could get special picture magnets of the boys to stick on our fridge to remind us to throw money at them every time we open the door to stuff our faces (all the time knowing they have no family to claim them or to call their own). I guess we could keep our guest room open and our resources to ourselves. Yes, maybe we could do that. That would be easy. That would be painless. That would be safe. Then all the naysayers could feel safe and not have to feel uncomfortable with their own passivity while someone else they know is doing something "unsafe" in the name of Christ. Because we all know that being a follower is all about safety and comfort. And we all know that Christ valued his safety and comfort above all else (sarcasm at its worst). Yes, I guess we could do that. Let me make one thing very clear.
We won't. We can't.
I displayed real live fear in my last post. There was nothing contrived about it. It was an honest appraisal of acknowledging that there was no way we could manage this adoption on our own merits and strength. And, as in all monumental decisions in life, these types of decisions need to be weighed wisely with a whole lot of prayer, respect, knowledge, and a dash of fear mixed with a child-like faith. As a Christian, I say this to all my brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to avoid becoming people who are constantly defending the gospel while rarely demonstrating it.
As Christians, we need to pray that we will be open to circumstances in our lives that will prove the existence of God to others. This means that the situations we encounter will be way bigger than we are.......more than we are capable of handling. That way, any success will have to be attributed to "something" more than just us; it will have to be attributed to God. As David Plat so beautifully puts it in his recent book "Radical Together":
"I began to pray 'Lord, let me make a difference for you that is utterly disproportionate to who I am'......This has been my continual prayer. .......The reality is that I'm still a beginner as a pastor, in over my head at every level. I often feel like Solomon when he said, 'I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.' I need wisdom-the kind of wisdom that comes only from the Bible.
God has designed us to depend on his Word to lead his people in ways that are utterly disproportionate to who we are."
I know too many Christians that would never think of tapping into their retirement, giving up that family vacation, buying a cheaper, used car with less bells and whistles, or handing over a large bonus, etc. in order to go beyond themselves for others' needs. They have it all wrong....they associate these actions (or sacrifices) with unbearable suffering and self denial. But what is missing in this whole story of giving to others (more than you think you can), is the euphoric feeling and knowledge that you let God use you as His hands in a situation. There is no other feeling like this. Sure, you gave something up, but the pleasure from doing this far outweighs the pain.......it is addictive. I promise you, the very act of giving to others in need will give you purpose.
Matthew 16:24-25 "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
It is a well known fact that people who consistently give of their lives, time and/or resources to people in need live longer more satisfying lives. This is why when you feel down, one sure way out of this nose dive of self-pity is to minister to someone elses' needs. This is the way God made us. It satisfies us.
This adoption of our boys and having a large family is "utterly disproportionate to who we are" in every sense of the word. We have gone beyond what financially we thought we could. We have gone beyond what others see as "normal" or "healthy" in regard to family size and dynamics. But it all works. My prayer is that all watching our family will see that our family is not doing this on our own. We can't. We haven't. It is too big to claim any success in this arena as our own. May all who look into the window of our life realize that there is "something" more at work here......."something" worth looking into and "something' worth depending upon....and it's not us. I want what our family does to show that God is real and that He is powerful, loving, and waiting for you.