"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" Jeremiah 32:27
"With much prayer and consideration, we have decided to close our International Adoption Program in Ghana..."
I read the email again. I felt nothing. I tried, but...nope. Nothing.
Three years of working towards International Adoption, shot down with a bullet-like, single sentence. Fifteen thousand dollars, non-refundable, seemed a single cent matched against the late night prayers, longing hopes and "maybe" baby names scribbled on the edge of my journal pages - all non-refundable.
Hundreds of times I had glanced at our family photo hanging on our red wall, imagining a beautiful brown-skinned girl sandwiched between me and Eli. There was just enough space there for her, I thought. When we get matched, I can Photoshop her in. I wanted her to know she was always with us, even before we ever met her.
We knew there were five children ready to be dispensed to families in the program. We were number three on the list. It was just a matter of time before we would receive the file with our child's photo tucked inside. But all it took was a new person in power sitting at an adoption desk, to halt these international adoptions.
Just..Like...That. These five children, who had no other living relatives willing to care for them - no one in their own country who wanted them - were left frozen in place in an orphanage.
Across the sea, there were five, waiting families frozen in shock.
We planned on naming her Zellie Anne Hope.
Zellie - short for Gizelle; which means 'a pledge'. Aaron and I were pledging to God that we would care. We would defend the cause of the orphan - and our precious, ransomed daughter.
Anne - honoring Aaron's Mom who passed away unexpectedly 5 years ago.
Hope - because that is what people would see when we walked hand in hand in Trader Joes.
All of these imaginings: Non-refundable. Two nights later, I sat on the floor, holding all of these thoughts like a burgeoning sack of potatoes - too heavy and awkward for my small frame to manage.
Ok God, You shut that door, but what do I do with all THIS? All these things I can't return, I can't get back. It feels like I've wasted so much on something that wasn't even real.
I wish I had a poetic way of describing how I felt, but the truth is, I was sad. Just so, so sad. Deep, I'm-so-heavy-I-may-crush-and-crack-the-floor-beneath-me, kind of sad. I am still sad over this loss. It feels like a death to me.
Jesus knows a thing or two about death. He knows a thing or two about resurrection, too.
Sometimes, He allows death, to show us He has the power to resurrect. He loves us that much.
"Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick. When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea" (John 11: 3-7 NIV).
Catch this: Jesus chose to stay where He was two more days. If Jesus had gone to Lazarus as soon as He heard he was sick, He could have made it in time to heal him. He would not have died. Even Martha says this to Him when he comes,
“Lord...” if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give You whatever You ask” (John 11:21-22).
But he did die. Jesus knew he would, and He intentionally waited until Lazarus was buried in a tomb.
Why did He wait? The Bible tells us one reason in the preceding sentence, "Now, Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, SO...He stayed where He was two more days".
In other words: Jesus loved them, so He allowed death. It's a truth that is hard to comprehend from the earth side of heaven.
In this specific instance, Jesus chose to resurrect the dead. He did it so that the disciples traveling with Him would believe in His power, "for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe" (John 11:15). But what about Martha? She already believed, saying, "I know that even now God will give whatever you ask".
Could it be, He allowed the death not to show her His resurrecting power, but His resurrecting love?
"When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, Lord, come and see." Jesus wept' (John 11: 33-35).
Martha witnessed the man she confessed to be, "Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world"(John 11:27) moved with compassion. She watched the King of the World, the Alpha & Omega, the Saving Messiah, the Creator of all things: Weep.
I find this to be more powerful than the resurrection of a dead man.
I find this to be more powerful than the resurrection of our adoption dream.
We have a God who mourns with us.
Martha did not ask Jesus to come. She sent a messenger to tell him her problem. I imagine she knew he would come. It appears Martha didn’t expect an earthly resurrection at that moment (John 11:24). But, she did expect Jesus.
We may expectantly pray for Jesus to resurrect certain things in our life. But in most cases, that is not what we really need. What we really need is Jesus to come.
We need to understand that He is deeply moved with compassion for us. We need to see that He is willing to sit next to us and cry.
I do not know if God will allow adoption in our lives. It is a confusing time for us. I used to pray that He would resurrect this situation and blow me away by opening doors in Ghana again, or in the U.S.A., or anywhere!
These prayers were not bad. But my heart and focus have shifted. He has heard my 'problem', and He has come. Jesus is with me. He has shown He is deeply moved in His spirit for me. He has wept with me.
Oh, I still believe Jesus has the power to resurrect this situation! But let me be clear, the King of the World has wrapped his arms around me and whispered: I have come. I see you. Let me cry with you. I love you.
When all is stripped away, the only resurrection that matters is HIS. I trust Him in all things - in death - in resurrection - in the waiting. I trust that whatever He allows, is because He wants more people to witness His compassionate love and faithfulness. So I write this to declare, even when I don't understand His ways: My God is good! My God is with me!
Use this situation, and all things in my life, to glorify You. Bring people to saving faith because of the ways You are working in my life. Thank You for never leaving my side. All I need is Your Presence.
by Jenna Masters