Friday, September 21, 2012

And Now We Wait . . .

On Wednesday, all of our dossier and our I-171H was given to Ukrainian government for them to review  and then invite us over to adopt a child. Once they do notify us, we only have two weeks to prepare.

So, until we hear from them, we wait.

Throughout this process we have prayed that everything would proceed according to God's time and that we would not stress over it.  Sometimes this is easier to pray than to actually do.  Patience isn't always something that comes naturally to me, especially when I'm driving.  Like many people, I tend to want things to happen according to my schedule so that it doesn't upset my routine.  But what I'm learning more and more is that God is not only not a respecter of persons but of routines and schedules.

Old Testament scholar John Oswalt notes that "waiting on the Lord" implies two things:

1. Complete dependence on God
2. A willingness to allow Him decide the terms

This means I have to let go and trust.

Oswalt wrote that to wait on the Lord is to "admit we have no other help, either in ourselves or in another . . ."  It is to "declare our confidence" in God's eventual acting on our behalves.  "Thus waiting is not merely killing time but a life of confident expectation."  Confident expectation is a great phrase.  When I read that phrase, I immediately thought of my son at Christmas time.  He is definitely confident in his expectations about the gifts he's getting.  He never doubts that we will get him gifts that he will love and appreciate.  And he is so confident that he wants to hurry Christmas along until Christmas morning so he can open them.  Every December we put up a cloth calendar in his room that he uses to mark each day until Christmas Day by putting an ornament, sleigh, teddy bear on that particular day.  Each day he marks off is an excited expectation of the next and how he is getting closer to when he can unwrap each present in a fury of tossed paper and ribbons (It never fails to amaze me how quickly it really is all over).

That's how we tend to be when we are waiting on the Lord.

And it can be hard when we are waiting on something we really need: whether it be a job, financial provision, the selling of a house, a healing, or waiting to adopt a child that desperately needs a family to love him or her.

"All in God's time," I often heard said, but what does that really mean?

While we are on chronos (chronological or sequential time), God is on kairos (the appointed time in the purpose of God).  Madeleine L'Engle in one of my favorite books, Walking on Water, refers to kairos as "real time" and "That time which breaks through chronos with a shock of joy, that time we do not recognize while we are experiencing it, but only afterwards, because kairos has nothing to do with chronological time." She then relates it to a child at play who is so wrapped up in their play that they don't even notice the passage of time at all.  This is how we are to be with God, so enraptured in Him that we are oblivious to our schedules, and trusting Him that everything will happen according to His appointed time.  As Psalm 27:14 tells us, "Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!"

This isn't always easy, especially as the waiting grows longer and longer.  Just look at Abram and Sara waiting for God's promise to be fulfilled in their having a son.  That story also shows us the dangers of when we try to impose our time schedule on God's.

I work for a toy company and our main focus is the Christmas season.  That's when toy companies make 60% of their sales.  Needless to say, toy companies don't want their employees taking any time off between November and December.  Ideally, I would like to go over to Ukraine in October before the busy season begins, but that is out of my hands and I have to trust in God that when we are notified to come over, that God has it all in control.  This is, as every step of this journey has been, a test of faith.  Just as when I was in school, I wish this test were multiple choice.  The fact is, I don't like waiting.  Yet that is exactly why God wants me to.  In his book Adopted For Life, Russell D. Moore writes, "There's something about patience that God deems necessary for our life in the age to come and so . . . God makes us wait."

God wants me to learn patience.  That's why He lets the car pull out in front of me and then drives soooo slowly or puts me in the grocery line behind the person who will have an item that needs a price check  or gives me a son who likes to test mine.  Or He leads our family to adopt: a process in which so much of what needs to be done is out of our hands.  I find it is so much easier to have patience when there's nothing and no one to try its limits.

And scripture is constantly reminding us to wait on the Lord.  Psalm 37 repeatedly tells us to wait on the Lord and adds that those who do will "inherit the land."  The prophet Isaiah also urges God's people to wait on the Lord saying that those who do:

 . . .Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

In his book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Eugene Peterson wrote about that the central words in Psalm 130 were "watch" and "wait."  He says that those words are "at the center of the psalm and that "waiting and watching add up to hope."  That's why his book is entitled a long obedience.  But in this frenetic, and instant world, we want things instantly.  

When Madeleine L'Engle submitted the manuscript to one of my favorite childhood books, A Wrinkle in Time, it took her years to get it accepted and published.  She believed in her book but publishers thought the subject matter was too complicated and she continued to get rejection letters.  Madeleine L'Engle became discouraged and wondered why a book she felt God had given her about theology and science was facing continuous rejection.  The book was finally accepted after 2 1/2 years and she discovered that the time was exactly right for its publication because the book was not only noticed and not forgotten but was embraced and won the Newberry Medal, which is the highest honor a children's book can get.  She only understood God's timing after events unfolded, not during, not while she was facing rejection after rejection.

Madeleine L'Engle, like all of us, is finite and we cannot understand the infinite plan of God.  Unlike God, we cannot see the whole map of time spread before us.  We can only trust Him.  As a man once said to me, "Either you trust God or you don't."  Simple but not easy.

Isaiah 64:4 tells us there is no other God and that He "acts for the one who waits for Him."

Our family waits on the Lord because we truly believe that His time will be the right time and He will have the right child for our family according to His time.  We trust that no matter when we are invited to Ukraine, that 
God will take care of us and that we need not fret, worry, or question.  

One of my favorite U2 songs is their rendition of Psalm 40 simply entitled "40" off their album War.  Like the Psalm, it begins, "I waited patiently on the Lord . . . He inclined and heard my cry.  He brought me up out of the pit . . . He set my feet upon the rock and made my footsteps firm."

For those of you who are reading and are waiting on God for something, I hope this encourages you because hope is coming and you, too, will "sing a new song."



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