Friday

Overwhelmed



I wanted today to experience the Love of God. While I often talk and teach about loving God and living out that love through obedience to Him, I rarely think about experiencing His love. Sad how little I do that.

This morning I saw a quote by Henri Nouwen, "The question is not, 'How am I to love God?' but, 'How am I to let myself be loved by God?" At first blush I was taken aback because I focus so much on God's glory or on loving God, on enjoying Him, on serving Him, on being transformed by Him that, well, frankly, I think I miss the point.

Engraved inside my wedding band is 1 John 4:19, "We love, because He first loved us." We put it there because only God's love of Jenny and I enables us to love one another as God desires. We put it there on purpose, and I in focusing on the daily, neglect to remember.

I came before the Lord today and asked Him to help me experience His love. I wanted to be overwhelmed by Him, by His love. Have you ever been overwhelmed? It means to be overcome, overpowered, to be defeated completely, engulfed by irresistible force. It comes from a Middle English word which means to be turned upside down and submerged completely. I wanted to be sunk in God's love. Utterly filled by it.

I did what I often do when I am seeking the Lord and turned to Psalms. Psalm 31, "Into Your hand I commit my spirit," says David. "You have ransomed me, oh LORD, God of truth."

Someone quoted that one dark afternoon a very long time ago. Jesus said those words as He breathed out His life to ransom us from sin and from death. Oh, what love compelled Him! It was because He loves us! For no other motivation did God plan our salvation than that He loves us with this beautiful, terrifying, engulfing love. Love that defeats my pride and overcomes our sin. For God so loved the world...

Overwhelming.

I did what any missionary/minister/lover does when their boat is swamped: I wept. Aching sobs. The tears of one overcome not by fear or hate or pain or loss, but love. The tears Peter wept when he denied his Lord and then saw His face. Then saw Him die to ransom him. The love that makes a man run to see the empty tomb. The love that makes a man leap out of a boat and swim where Jesus stands.  The love that calls to the man who denied Him and makes him breakfast.  Never stopping, never giving up, un-breaking, always and forever love.

God does not overwhelm us with love then leave us upside down. He utterly defeats our pride and leaves us with Him alone. He confronts all our failure and treason and insipid selfishness with a tsunami and pulls out all our unrighteousness and drowns it in the sea of His love. Unlike an earthly tsunami, He leaves us not destroyed, but new.

Tears abated and instead of empty, I felt full. Grateful. Thankful. Merciful. Beautiful. Bountiful. Graceful. Because that is who God is. That is how He works. We stand on the shore and scream at Him and berate Him and ask Him why, WHY! Yet when we on bended knees surrender to Him and ask Him to love us...Oh! How He loves us. He washes over us and makes us new. He submerges us completely then raises us up. He loves us. And oh, how He does it well.


Grace from Gibeah

Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

We assume that we know what we are doing. We are an enlightened society. Science is our guide. Philosophy our liturgy. Comfort our god. We have proven there is no god and now, freed from the constraints of the tyranny of religion, we can forego the masses' opiate and forge our own path, create Utopia. We are the captains of our souls.

To anyone who thinks the Bible is a book of children's stories, please avoid Judges. The last 3 chapters contain a story so graphic the writers of Game of Thrones could whip it into a screenplay with but little editing. The book ends with gang rape, a dismembered corpse mailed to 12 tribes, an ensuing civil war, the death of nearly 70,000 men, the wholesale slaughter of an entire city, and 600 girls taken captive and forced into marriages. Ancient historical text or modern headlines?

While there is much to be gleaned from these chapters, my initial gut reaction is merely one of sadness at the state of mankind when we make our own rules. The Cycle of Judges has the repeated phrase, "everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

And this is, I believe, the core value in our world. It is the basis of materialism, sexism, racism, and all the other 'ism's which pervade our world as fungus rots a fallen log. We see it, we want it. We feel it, we do it. Frank Sinatra did it his way. We are the champions. When people look to themselves to find the solution the inevitable result is always death and brokenness and sadness and horror. Religion even looks to man as the solution: Earn your way. Pay your penance. Become nothing.  All religions but one.

Jesus changed everything. He came into this world so desperately broken, not to condemn it, but that it might be saved through Him. Jesus didn't need to condemn us: we do that perfectly well on our own. He came to save us. The gospel comes to ruined people. Ruined by sin. Condemned, helpless, dead. The gospel is not a flannel board fairy tale. It is God seeing people ruined by doing what is right in their own eyes and sending Himself to show them what is truly right.

The 2nd greatest lie in all of history is that we have within ourselves the capacity to know what is right. It's what Satan told Eve. It is built upon the subtle, but Greatest Lie: God does not love you. Because to believe the 2nd, we must concede the first. The reality is that God does love you. Yes, even you. Even me. He loves us so very much that He did what we could never do on our own: Be selfless. Love. Forgive. Grace.

Grace is looking at the man in Judges 19 who threw his wife to rapists to save his own skin. A man who sacrificed a woman on the alter of his own nefarious pride by allowing men to kill her with their depravity. A man who took the weaker and used her to protect his own comfort.  It is looking at that evil man and loving him enough to take the enormity of his sin and bear it for him so that he could be forgiven. Jesus took the people who hurt children and societies who abuse women and He loved them by dying for their "doing what was right in their own eyes." It is impossibly wonderful. Achingly true.

I see in my own heart the capacity for such evil. Nauseated by Judges, I look within and see the man I could have been had not Jesus redeemed my broken soul by His love. And I look to Him to show me what is right. Not myself. Because when I do as I see fit instead of what the Lord says is good, I am the man in Judges. Ah, but He is my Good Shepherd who freed me by his love. He transforms my very heart, my very mind, into a man who looks like Him. Who loves like Him. Who can now do what is right in God's eyes, and not his own.

Glory!

Grace, grace, God's grace.
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Wednesday

Praise

"Let my soul live that I may praise You, and let your ordinances help me"
Psalm 119:175

Science is wonderful at answering the What and the How. As I was getting out of the shower this morning, our 4 year old son decided to come in and have a little convo. He left the door open. We live in a concrete block house. At 8,000 feet. With no heat. He asked me how our bodies make heat. Mine was currently not making enough. But I knew how to find out the answer. Science is an amazing tool that we can use! It's called Cellular Respiration (remember that Biology class you hated?) Feel free to geek out with me because it's awesome. But we can find out how that works. That too points to our Creator, but that's another post.

The same 4 year old has a favorite question: "Why?" Deep theology pours forth from that tiny mind. Sometimes I have an answer. Like when he asks why there are bad guys. Or why God is good. Sometimes I don't. Like when he asks why grandpa has cancer. Sure, I have an answer, but sometimes they answers don't seem to help. Sometimes I tell him, "I don't know. But I know that God is good and that's enough for me today." And sometimes it's time for bed and the answer is, "We'll talk about it tomorrow, sweet boy."

Why do we even have a soul? That marvelous question has a marvelous answer:

"That I may praise You."

God made us to praise Him. In what is truly a masterpiece of poetic discipline, the Psalmist gives us our purpose: Praise.

Sometimes studying the Bible really messes things up. See, here I am, comfy in my grumpiness and then I read this before I give teeth chattering answers to a wee bitty blonde boy in my bathroom. And I am forced to confront reality. Because what I want to do is yell for him to shut the door. But before my blood pressure can spike, this verse whispers into my mind and I have a choice to make.

Will I praise Him right now? Will I worship He who made my soul, then saved that soul so I could, as Tozer says,  "...perform what the constitution of our natures indicates we are capable of." What will I do? Who will I be? Because reality cannot be avoided forever. God made me to praise Him. Today. Right now. The Bible could not be clearer. And I cannot yell at my child and praise the Lord at the same time.

I cannot ___________ and praise the Lord at the same time.

With what else could will fill that blank?

I bet my list is longer than yours.

Wonderfully, the verse continues, "and let Your ordinances help me."  That word means a judicial decision, a verdict, a judgement, that sets precedent. The Lord didn't give us rules to limit our freedom. He gave us His word so we could have true freedom, because sin and lies bind us. Did Satan make good on his promise to Eve? Do we become like God when we sin, or when we praise Him?

Its no secret that we humans need help. And help we have. Right there in the Bible. Help to answer questions whispered from mouths full of not-too-well-brushed teeth. Little mouths that pull out a thumb and are unafraid to whisper, "Why, daddy?"

Let us be unafraid to wonder. Unafraid to whisper, "Why?" Unafraid to praise Him and receive the help He has given us. It's why we're here.

Unseen



"Your way went through the sea and Your path through the great waters,
but your footprints were unseen"
Psalm 77:19

Oh, how great and marvelous is this mysterious God we serve. In this journey with adopting our son, the Lord has gone before us. His way was through the sea and we could not see His footprints. But seeing does not manifest reality. Much of what I cannot see is real. If the Bible is true, there is an entire other world which we cannot see. That which is invisible, unseen by our eyes. A whole realm that is all around me that I cannot measure or manipulate or manage. A realm to which I have access through prayer. A realm where battles are fought. Where we can be transformed.

I want so much to see. To run my hands over the petrified imprints. But petrified means dead and I serve the Living God. The God who passes through the great waters unseen and asks me to follow. The God who brings nations to the edge of the sea then has them walk through on dry land. The God who takes the Great Problem of our sin and solves it unimaginably. The God who entered, as C.S. Lewis called it, "enemy-occupied territory" as, among all options, a baby boy born to a teenage girl. Our ransom wrapped in swaddling cloth. 

Yet even more, I want to follow Him through the darkness. I want to be carried by my Good Shepherd through the deep waters. I want to forget about seeing proof and rest in His everlasting arms. I want to be so enraptured by His love that I never look back to see where we have been but am content to merely be with my Lord, my Savior, who loves me enough to invite me to join Him in His wonder. 

I want to know Him, not just about what He has done. And as we have gone through this process, He has shown us who He is. Faithful. Just. Good. 

He is Father, Creator, Redeemer, Friend. And I love Him. And He loves me. And you. 

And though He is a mystery, what glimmer I get as He hides me in the cleft of the rock is more than I could ever need. 



Tuesday

I shall not want to go through this

I don't want to go through this.

I realize that sounds un-spiritual. Perhaps it is.

We want our son. Yet the hits roll in like breakers under an ever darkening sky. It is so hard to trust the Lord. So easy to put our hope in the fickle fancies of Secretaries and Presidents and Prime People. So easy to get hopeful when the chief representative of the State Department travels to the DRC. I get excited because finally someone with authority, power and influence is there.

I don't think David thought it all that fun as he crested the pass and walked down into the valley of the shadow of death. He didn't say that it would be fun, but that the Shepherd would be there with him and that His rod and staff would correct and comfort him. Comfort him with the comfort that fears nothing. That fears no evil. Not even the evil that keeps our son from us. That keeps him from getting the surgery he needs. That keeps my wife's heart in raw unending brokenness. That keeps our eyes wet and our hearts aching. Comfort us with Himself. With The Presence.

The Presence that restores a soul. That lifts up with wings like eagles. The Presence that knelt in an olive grove and saw the soldiers's torches and asked if this cup could pass. The Presence that submitted and took that cup and drank down every brutal lash, every mocking word, every hammer blow that atoned for the very sin which keeps us from our son.

The Presence that listened as Paul begged his thorn removed and answered with Himself. That the unmerited favor of His goodness was enough. Sufficient to lead him beside quiet waters. To prepare a table in the presence of his enemies. To anoint his head and overflow his cup and follow him with goodness and lovingkindness all the days of his life.

That same Presence, that same Person dwells within me. This is know is true. And He does not take the thorn or brighten the valley. He does not make the pain stop or the ache abate. He too has a hammer. And between it and the Anvil we dwell. Yet He who rains down the hammer also reigns on High. And it is between the hammer and the anvil that we are made into the likeness of His Son.

Because reality is that a Person of authority, power and influence is already there in the DRC. He has always been there and He will not leave. And though I yearn to slake my thirst for understanding, I must be content to drink instead from the cup which overflows. The cup not of wrath, but of grace. Grace that dries our tears and fills us with good and perfect things - even while we walk through the valley.

We do not want to go through this. The Lord wants us to go through it. Only one way is right. Only one way is good. Not my will, O Lord, but Yours be done. For Your name's sake - shepherd me.

Monday

Seasons

Seasons are what they are. I used to love the change from winter's bite to the blooms of spring. Guatemala is called "The Land of Eternal Spring" and it is nice. Temperate. But at times I miss the change.

Life has seasons too. We are in the little kid season. The Adoption season. The learning how to parent season. The struggle with calling and purpose and adequacy season. The my dad has cancer season. The our moms live too far away season. The I don't know what to do here season.

I feel the Lord pursuing me. Calling me to live the crucified life. The life where Jesus does the living through me. The life where I die and He lives. Where I trust Him completely. And not only trust Him, but ask Him to ordain circumstances that will require absolute surrender.

And here I find fear. Of all things, fear. Scared of what could happen I allow my trust to curl back into myself where it has no business but much power. I fear what could happen to my family if I ask the Lord to help me live the crucified life. And in that fear I have not love, for perfect love casts out fear.

So I end back where I always end: Needing to accept the overwhelming grace of Jesus which is manifest in my weakness. I find I need more and more grace because the deeper the Lord calls me to Him, the more I realize the profundity of my weakness. And in weakness there is fear. But I am not called to fear. I am called to be loved and to love Him in return.

Sounds so easy when I type it.

Give me justice

Jenny and I are living the peace which passes understanding. We have it because God has given it to us by the Spirit. We have comfort because the God of all comfort indwells us.  But be clear: our situation is stressful. We have had our son now, as our adopted son, since he was 6 months old. He will be 17 months old in a few days. We are on furlough from Guatemala in order to get him. That means we are removed from normal, routine, life. It's constant background stress - an ache that's simply there. We received news that the government of the DR Congo may suspend exit letters for all adopted children for a year.

We were awaiting a letter from Child Services in the DR Congo called a bordreau letter, which clears our son to be issued an exit visa. We both are then to travel, get our son, and take him to the DGM (Immigration) for an interview after which they issue an exit letter and we bring him home.  At the point in the process where were were a few pen strokes from rejoicing, a single person decided to halt our son, who is already ours and has a US visa, from leaving the country.

What this means is that our expectations have been brutally murdered. Jenny and I have never endured a more difficult time in our 13 years of marriage. It is so very hard on a tender-hearted mama. 

But God is faithful. He has given us comfort to patiently endure. He has given us peace that literally slows my heartbeat. Yesterday Jenny's mom's Sunday school class asked us how they could pray. A wave of courage overwhelmed me and I said, "Pray we get our son before we have to go back to Guatemala. I'm tired of asking for what I already have - let's pray the Lord kicks down doors. Lets pray the walls come tumbling down."

So this morning as I was talking to the Lord, He brought me to this passage in Luke.  Accident? Coincidence? Ha. Read it with me.

Luke 18:1-8 (HSCB)
 "He then told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not become discouraged: 2 “There was a judge in a certain town who didn’t fear God or respect man. 3 And a widow in that town kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For a while he was unwilling, but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps pestering me,[a]I will give her justice, so she doesn’t wear me out[b] by her persistent coming.’”
6 Then the Lord said,“Listen to what the unjust judge says.7 Will not God grant justice to His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay to help them?[c] 8 I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith[d] on earth?”

This is a parable, given right after Jesus talks to the disciples about His second coming. Unlike many parables, Jesus gives the reason behind it - He reveals the purpose. Forgive me if I just roll observation/interpretation/application all together.

"... the need for them to pray always and not become discouraged."

The need. We need to pray and not become discouraged. Why? Let's keep reading.
There is a widow. Desperate. Hopeless. Powerless. She needs justice. "Give me justice", she asks. But this judge, who has the power to give it, will not because he does not fear God or respect his fellow humans. He has power but no righteousness. Yet he gives her justice not because he has become suddenly just, but because he doesn't want her to wear him out with her persistent/constant/continual request.
Jesus says to hear what the unjust judge said. Because He is going to contrast him with God.

"Will not God grant justice to His elect who cry out to Him day and night?"

Will not God...what a question! God is righteous. He is Just. He is the author of all justice. All righteousness. Every manifestation of justice meted out upon this broken rock comes from God. Even justice given through the hands of an unjust man. He has power and righteousness. He is not an unjust judge. How much more should we continuously, constantly ask Him for justice?

"Will He delay to help them? I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice"

We have a God who can act. When the nation of Israel, backs still scabbed from the slave masters whip, found themselves with the sea before them and the Egyptian army behind, they needed swift help. They needed God's righteousness, His justice, to be manifested in power and in time.

The DGM is robbing orphans of justice by refusing to sign exit letters even after we have followed every protocol. We have sought to adopt and redeem a child, our child, from the brokenness and corruption and woeful misery of life before him. We have done this because it is what we are supposed to do. We are God's elect. Why? Because He elected us. And Jesus tells us that God will grant us justice. I didn't say He would, He said He would. When Jesus says, "God will grant you justice" He is saying, "I will grant you justice", because He is God. And He will do it swiftly! I don't know off hand what the Greek word translated 'swiftly' is, but in this context it means without delay. So we are praying that God, in His almighty power, would grant us justice without delay.

I am weary of asking God for what I already have. I don't need to ask Him for peace - I have it. I don't need comfort - He is my comfort.   I need justice for my son. Jesus doesn't say that God will give me a new car or health or a proper self-esteem. He says He will give us justice. And that is what we need.

Then Jesus ends with this question:

Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?”

Why does He ask that question in that place? Because we must exercise faith to ask God for justice and we must believe that He can do it. I tell you that if Jesus comes today, He will find at least one son and one daughter who have that faith on earth.

Will you pray with us? Let us flood the throne room of our God because we are His chosen. We are His adopted, redeemed, beloved. Let us approach the throne of grace with humble confidence because the one who justified us can give justice  to those who need it and are powerless to obtain it. We are praying that God would grant us justice; that our son's Bordereau letter would be swiftly issued by child services and that the DGM would then swiftly process and grant us an exit letter for our son so that we may bring him home. We are praying that God would do this swiftly. We are praying this because Jesus told us to pray always and not to be discouraged. Because He told us God would give us swift justice - the very thing we most desperately need.

We are asking you to pray with us because you too are God's elect, His chosen. Believe. Intercede. Cry out to Him. And let us see Him bring us justice.

Thursday

a valiant effort

So David had been having a rough go with the Arameans and Edomites. They were warring. Eventually, David and his army defeated them. As an aside, those locations are currently inhabited by Syrians and Jordanians. Interesting, no?

Anyway - David was a warrior, poet, shepherd, king. He was under the covenant God had made through Moses to the nation of Israel: Obey Me, I will bless you as no nation on earth. Reject Me, and I will bring judgement upon you that will make the world cringe. Pretty simple. Until you throw human nature into the mix.

Psalm 60 is a poem/song that David wrote about that time. It begins with a plea to God for restoration and salvation.

"O, God, You have rejected us, You have broken us; You have been angry, O, restore us"
"Save us with Your right hand, and answer us!"

God answers by reminding David that He is the one in control.

"In triumph I will parcel out Shechem and measure off the Valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine, Ephraim is my helmet, Judah my scepter."

Alright - that may not make a lot of sense, but Shechem and Succoth are on either side of the Jordan river. Gilead was in the same area. the land of the tribe of Manasseh straddled the Jordan and next to the Arameans. Ephraim was one of the most secure tribes due to its location, and Judah would rule the nation, hence the scepter. God is telling them, "I already have this taken care of. I know who and where you are, who and where the bad guys are: Trust Me."

David answers a few verses later with this:

"Through God we shall do valiantly, And it is He who will tread down our adversaries"

And now to the point.

Did you catch the subtle difference in what David said and what, say, most people would say?

I would want to say, "Sweet. Alright, we're going to kick some bad guy's in the teeth. Freedom!" and then I'd paint my face blue and run into battle - cue hero shot.

That's not what David says.

Through God we shall do valiantly. And it is He who will tread down our adversaries. Now, God didn't send down fire or hailstones. He didn't smash the Edomites with rocks or make the earth swallow them up. He could have, but He didn't:  He used David and his army to do it. They waded in and fought with swords and sweated and dodged and battled. They did it. God didn't wind up and throw a rock at Goliath, either. But he made that rock hit its mark. Why does he work like that?

He wants us to trust Him. And in trusting Him, depend upon Him.

David and his men trusted the Lord. They did the exact same action they would have done if they didn't trust Him. They fought. But with this difference: Through God, we shall do.

Walking in dependence upon God is not magic. It's rare that we cross the sea on dry land. Normally, you take a boat and ride out the storm with Jesus asleep in the bow. This is not us helping God. Not at all. It is God working through us to accomplish something.

I can teach a group of pastors or teach my kids to be kind all on my own, can't I? I can do the same actions in my own power and, even with the same results, fail, because I did it depending upon my own brain, abilities, and resources. Or I can do those exact same things in dependence upon Jesus and He will work through me. And will accomplish so very much more.

Galatians 2:20 says, in part, "...I no longer live, but Christ lives in/through me..." That is stunning in it's reality. Christ lives in us.

The Pre-Existent Creator, who holds all things together, lives in my body. I don't understand how. I just believe the Bible. And it says Jesus lives in me.

And that I can trust Him. That through Him, I shall do valiantly. Wow. I would have far greater success in the things that matter if I let Jesus do it. Instead I sully through the mud and champion my failure to good effort.

Silly, isn't it?

David understood that without the Lord, we're toast. But living dependently, Him living through us, we're valiant and victorious. What a contrast.

a wonderful descent



Today I smelled the coffee blossoms.

I was descending from the highlands down to the coast. Winding, quite literally, through the coffee plantations as I traveled with my pastor friend Anilmo to a meeting.

What you may not know is that the coffee plant only flowers for a day, maybe two. I had wanted terribly to experience this, but in 6 years I had never been in the right place, at the right time. Until yesterday.

My 1994 Honda Passport is a fine vehicle. But the descent through the bocacosta taxes the transmission, breaks, suspension - everything. I had the air off and the windows open. Anilmo and I were discussing what kind of books pastors could most use in a library when I saw them.

At first it was just a few - sparse, isolated coffee bushes in people's yards. And they had blossoms. Lots of them. Then the plantation began. I opened all the windows and drank in the aroma.

Warm, damp air from the Pacific coast rises to meet with cool, dry air seeping down from highlands. At 4-6,000 feet, they dance. That is where the coffee lives. That dense, moist air drew every molecule of aroma from those blossoms and percolated into my truck, filling it with honeysuckle sweet blended with damp, black earth and the woodsy depth of forest.

To my right, I looked up to the snow-capped peak of Tajumulco. At nearly 14,000 ft, the highest point in Central America.

From this:

 

to this: 


In 25 miles.

That's like being at 14K feet in Dallas and sea level in Fort Worth. It's steep. 

As we drove I breathed. The aroma was so intense I almost felt the smell. And I worshiped God. This place He made and people He made come together to cultivate His creation and bring to us a warm sip of Eden. I realized that as fleeting as these blossoms, so is my life and ministry here in Guatemala. God makes coffee plants to make coffee beans - the blossoms are just the brief but deeply beautiful demonstration of God's grace - a pleasing aroma for us to enjoy. And enjoy them we did.

I do not know how long we will live here or even how long I will live in this present life. But I want my time here, however brief, to be a pleasing aroma to those I serve. To be a pleasing aroma to the Lord I serve. And wherever the Lord may send Jenny and I in our life together,my prayer is that we blossom where He puts us and that those blossoms cause all who pass by us to worship the One who made us all.

Monday

The blessed agony


Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.


We are the legal parents of a child who is 8,009 miles away. If you wonder why I say 8,009 miles and not 8,000 it is because for us, 9 miles matter. If that makes no sense to you, then you are not a mommy or daddy and I cannot explain it.

His name is Joseph and he is our son. He turned 8 months old yesterday.  And we cannot hold or touch or smell or feel or taste him. We cannot experience or love him in any way we are accustomed. We pray for him daily. He is an echo to all our thoughts. We kiss the down soft cheeks of our other children and wonder what his cheeks feel like.

He is in a town called Mbuji-Mayi. Soon he will travel 586 miles by flight to Kinshasa, where we must go to get him. He will travel without us. Feel the disconcerting weight and weightlessness of flight without us. He is our son, legally, and yet he is so terribly far away.
When we began this process I had concerns about bonding with the child. Dads sometimes struggle bonding with their kids until they are born – we need contact, interaction, experience. Those concerns are now laughable. I ache for a son I have never heard or held, never tickled or soothed, never felt the warmth of his breath upon my neck.

We must navigate myriad steps to obtain a visa for our son because you cannot just fly in, grab him, and take him back home. Governments want to make sure the right child goes to the right people and that process just takes awhile. We received notice that the process could possibly be extended another 3-6 months. Possibly.

I waited patiently for the LORD;
He inclined to me and heard my cry

We have waited before. We’ve even waited a long time. But we’ve never had our 8 month old 8,009 miles away and been unable to get him. Had to wait to get him. Had someone tell us we may need to wait longer.

And so I am thankful that the God who put all this in motion, inclines to hear our cries.

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold: I shall not be greatly shaken.

And I am thankful that we have a son for whom we ache, for whom we agonize a blessed agony. And for a Lord who holds my soul and comforts me as I pray and ask Him to comfort and feed and sunscreen and clothe and love our son until our hope be realized and we be the blessed hands that do all those things.