“I held tight to the psalmist David’s conviction that the weeping and tears might linger for the night, but that joy would come in the morning. Sadly, after six years in Somalia, each morning brought only more tears. For perhaps the first time in my life, I was dealing with something that I could not fix. Prayer and obedience and hard work and good training and Godly intentions and sacrifice – none of it seemed to make a difference.” – Nik Ripken, The Insanity of God
We are being reminded lately, that when you connect your life with the broken heart of God, it’s often heart-breaking. It’s not a great sales pitch, and it’s not a great advertisement to convince a world that doesn’t know Jesus that we’ve made a good decision. It’s not even a great testimony to convince other Christians we are, indeed, following God’s call on our life. Heck, it’s not even a great assurance to ourselves as we lay our heads on pillows each night…wondering where God is.
The truth is, God’s people are suffering globally. They are suffering in horrible and unjust ways. They are sold into slavery, trampled underfoot in the name of progress, cast aside for more important things. They are thrown in prisons, beheaded, shot at, and sometimes – even made fun of in high school cafeterias. Does this mean God has turned a blind eye to their needs? Is God deaf to the cries of the suffering followers of Christ? Why doesn’t He do something? Lord of all creation, quiet in places that severely need His Words of healing and life.
I imagine the scene between Elijah and Ba’al, only this time it’s our God who is scoffed at, “Shout louder….Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 1 Kings 18:27
These are some of the same thoughts we have, now over 2 years into an adoption process. 2 years, and still we feel very close to where we began. Those who know about adoption in the DRC might be quick to say something like, “What’d you expect?” Certainly when we began the process, we knew not much about our path was certain. But we stepped out on faith that we were responding in a way that revealed the heart of God. Even though at times, if feels we’ve nothing to show for it….I still believe these years have been growing fruit for the Kingdom. Not that I’d choose the same road, if I could go back in time.
Nik Ripken found himself in a similar spot, after years of suffering in Somalia. Crying out to God, and returning to the US to see what needed to change, he set out on a new mission: to find out what good God was in places of intense suffering. What he discovered is enough to fill many books, and encourage the heart of any broken follower. God, and the belief in God is accomplishing great amounts of light in the midst of a darkened world. Stories that don’t make sense, but reveal the heart and life of a God I’d give my life and the life of my family to serve.
“..before we can grasp the full meaning of the Resurrection, we first have to witness or experience crucifixion. If we spend our lives so afraid of suffering, so averse to sacrifice, that we avoid even the risk of persecution or crucifixion, then we might never discover the true wonder, joy and power of a resurrection faith. Ironically, avoiding suffering could be the very thing that prevents us from partnering deeply with the Risen Jesus.” – Nik Ripken
There appear to be forks in the road, very near, as we continue responding to God’s call on our family to reveal His love to a broken world. We’re not yet sure what it will look like, but we know what it will feel like. Heart-breaking. As much as we have many confirmations, that we’re right in the midst of where the heart of God is…..it’s still hard. Even as I can smile at my family, knowing we’re laying foundations for a home God can, and is using to change the world….I hold them before God, continuing to believe that He’s able to do what He has not yet done here…bring redemption to this story.