(most assume this child will be a baby … ah, mainstream portrayals of all adoptions.)
It seems I get asked this question regularly, or at least some form of it. I’ve even heard recently, “Wow! You guys have been waiting longer than you would for a real kid!” And, yes, I realize with an African child soon to be in the family, those kinds of comments will be par for the course. I think I’m ready for that part of it and plan perhaps even to write a book about it; or at least a blog post.
But the fact of the matter is we have been waiting a long time, and, no, there is no news. At least there is no news that answers the question most people are really asking, “Did you find out who your kid is yet?”
Yes, there has been contact with our agency and social worker, even a visit to the United States by the director of the Babies Home where our next child is likely living right now. There has been some knowledge of children that may become eligible for adoption soon, but nothing that we can confidently hang our proverbial hats on and say, “This is what the Lord is doing!” We still don’t know exactly what He is doing.
We’re not sure why the wait has been a good bit longer than we anticipated. (I realize it has not been long at all by inter-country adoption standards.) We’re not sure why we moved at a record pace to #1 on our agency’s waiting list only to wait there for 6 months and counting. Everyone said the wait would be the hardest part. I’m not sure I believed them, but I do now. It has been the hardest part — future parenting aside, of course.
On this and a few other fronts in life, our family has some irons in the fire that seem to continually remain unresolved; things that feel big to me, things that are completely out of my control. Adoption is definitely the big, exciting, nothing-matters-compared-to-this one, but it is not the only thing causing me to wrestle during this season with anxious thoughts. The Lord has been stirring in my heart with a lot of hope and little direction it seems.
But He has not been silent.
How often do you look at His word and almost dismiss it because the Holy Spirit leads you to one of those overplayed verses? You know, the ones that are plastered on every other large print “Christian” calendar lining the walls of the “Christian” bookstore (They’re overplayed because they’re good and the God of the universe said them, by the way. Also we have discovered a way to make money off of particular ones more than others. But this is a post for another time…). Anyway, one of those verses for me has always been Philippians 4:6-7:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (ESV)
This time, I read on. Well, quite a bit before and after actually, but for the purposes of this post, the very next words Paul writes are,
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me — practice these things and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:8-9, ESV)
What are anxious thoughts? They’re a symptom of a sinful condition. They are the outpouring of a lack of trust in God. Anxiousness is sinfully-motivated thinking. And God, in His grace, offers prayer (with thanksgiving, no less!) through Christ as a means to to experience His peace. This is great news! And I know many, including myself, have experienced it as true. But when you put these two sections together, as Paul did before “Christian” bookstores, you see that it is only half the picture.
The next list he writes is just the opposite of sinfully-motivated thinking. He tells the Philippians to think on these other kinds of things, things that are motivated by worship and the character of God rather than by my own unrepentant heart. And do you see the final reward this time? It’s not only the peace of God as it is in v. 7, but Paul says the God of peace will be with you. Word order is key. Tricky. When I lay my anxious thoughts at the foot of the cross AND turn in repentance to put my mind on God in worship, I get God himself. So, the God of grace allows for anxiety-motivated prayer, and even wants it and blesses by it, but His full design is in the renewing of my mind to turn me from anxious thinking to godly thinking. It is in the practice of repentant and cross-focused thinking that my experience of His presence is made complete. And along with His presence, comes the experience of His peace.
For in him (Jesus) all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:19-20, ESV)
And how this peace is so much greater than our cultural understanding of it! This is not about warm fuzzies that I get because someone (may or may not have) listened to my ramblings and I just feel better for having said it all to someone who may (or may not) exist to make me feel nice. Nope.
This peace is one that was bought literally by the least peaceful event in human history. The cross is not the calming, peaceful self-help strategy that it is often portrayed in our world. It is a torturous execution sentence that purchased adoption from the God of the universe for His kids who don’t deserve it. In light of what it took to adopt me, I think I can handle some more waiting.
Thanks for asking.