Monday, September 28, 2015

Coffee Break


I love coffee.

That is not a statement. That is a fact.  Much as I would state, "I need air to breathe."  


Now I am in no way, shape or form a morning person. It is best not to try and strike up a conversation with me in the morning unless you want monosyllabic grunts. It's not until I have had my coffee that I can begin to form the words that form sentences. Or even begin to have the thoughts that form the words that form sentences. No coffee, no thoughts. Maybe that's why Sir James Mackintosh said, "The powers of a man's mind are directly proportioned to the quantity of coffee he drinks."  

"So pour on!" I declare so that those profound thoughts can spring forth. 

And not a small cup of coffee, either! But a mug of coffee!

I have a favorite coffee mug. My Mickey coffee mug. I love not only its design and color, but the size of this mug, which is the perfect size for a coffee mug. I don't want a dainty coffee cup. No, I want - dare I say - need a coffee cup this size.  


Is there nothing better in the morning than the smell of freshly brewed coffee?

And dosn't a doughnut taste better with coffee?

Or a pastry?

Or pie?

Or any dessert for that matter? Ahhh, I'm in my happy place . . . .


And drinking coffee makes me a better parent.  To prove my point:

Parenting after drinking coffee:


Parenting without coffee:


I love coffee in a Gilmore Girls love of coffee. My favorite show encapsulates two of my favorite things: books and coffee. (For those who haven't watched this show - WHAT???? Go now. Get a cup of coffee and go binge-watch it on Netflix!)


My mornings are comprised of coffee, prayer, and reading my Bible before getting the kids to school and myself to work. All three (coffee, prayer, and scripture) are vital. When the Bible talks about "joy comes in the morning," I can't help but think that part of that joy is in the form of coffee. 


On rainy days, particularly cold and rainy days, I love nothing more than a cup of coffee, a good book, and a warm blanket to enjoy both under.  

Even C. S. Lewis understood this. He said, "You can never get a cup of coffee large enough or a book good enough to suit me." To this I holler, "Comrade!"  (I might also add "long enough naps" to that list. Just saying). He was not alone in this thought, as the novelist Anthony Trollope asked, "What on Earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?"

Can't answer that question with anything other than, "Nothing, Anthony, nothing."  

Why?  

Because it's true!  

And he should know. Anthony Trollope was one of the most prolific and prodigious of authors and he invented the mailbox. He would wake up at 5:30 every morning, drink coffee, and begin writing. Trollope would go on to write 47 novels, sometimes as many as three in a single year. If you've never read him, grab a cup of coffee and one of his works, find a comfortable sofa to understand his question even more fully. 


What better and more welcoming invitation is there than a friend suggesting, "Let's meet over coffee"? Unless, of course, it's, "Let's meet over coffee and books"? Along with books, friendships go better with coffee. I mean, who hasn't enjoyed a deep, meaningful conversation with a close friend over coffee? Aren't they more pleasurable over coffee?  Of course, what isn't?   






Saturday, September 26, 2015

Documentaries About Adoption


Here are some documentaries about adoption that can currently be streamed on either Netflix or Amazon.

1. Adopted directed Barb Lee. "Of the 1.5 million children in the U.S., international adoptees are the fastest growing segment. While many of their stories play into our self-image of American compassion and generosity, the realities are much more complex. Adopted reveals the sober reality of interracial adoption, delving deep into the intimate lives of two well-meaning families and showing the challenges they face."

This one can be streamed on Amazon Prime.


2. Approved for Adoption by Jung Henin. This animated documentary traces the unconventional upbringing of its director.

This one can be streamed on Amazon Prime. 


3. Giving a Child Away is a documentary that "throws fundamental questions into the air about love, adoption, and family. One of its greatest strengths is that it gives no straight answers."

This one can be streamed on Amazon Prime.


4. Bringing Joshua Home "tells the personal story of one family who successfully adopted a Russian child. Arthur and Hanna Rosco share the challenges, joys, and drama of adopting a baby boy from Moscow and introducing him into their family. If you've ever wondered what it is like to adopt internationally, this film givens an inside, real-life look into the process from start to finish."

This one can be streamed on Amazon Prime.


5. The Drop Box. "This documentary chronicles the work of South Korean pastor Jong-rak Lee, who overcame multiple obstacles to take in orphans no one wanted."

This one can be streamed on Netflix.


6. Closure is a documentary about Angela Burt Tucker "a black woman raised by a white adoptive family" and her search for her biological parents "after 25 years without any contact."

This one can be streamed on Netflix.


7. The Dark Matter of Love is a documentary directed by Sarah McCarthy about "an American family that adopting three Russian children at once, and how they coped with the challenges behind bonding with children raised in an orphanage."

This one can be streamed on Netflix.


8. Stuck "follows the fate of four orphans from around the world, this earnest documentary argues that international adoption laws are deeply flawed."

This one can be streamed on Netflix.


If you know of any others, please feel free to comment and let me know.





Friday, September 25, 2015

Language & Loss


Cava is doing really well in school this year. He was elected to his fourth grade student council. His interim report was three "A's" and one "B."  That is no small feat.

Today, as I was leaving from having lunch with him, I ran into a woman who works at the school who stopped me to tell me how excited she was that Cava had gotten elected to student council and how she tells people who don't know, just how far he really has come in just under three years. And it's true. Amazingly true.

When I think back to when Cava first arrived here, I think about how hard it must have been to be caught between two languages. Everyday words and their meanings becomes lost, the person disconnected, and the world around them becomes strange and unreal. All your life you've thought and spoken in one language and now you have to shift gears and not only translate your thoughts from one language to another, but you must also speak them. How humbling it must be. And there is a hesitancy to speak because you're not sure of the right words or if you are pronouncing them correctly or using them in the right context (and I'm learning more and more about how important context is for Cava to learn and understand his new language). To not be understood and feel like you are stupid because of that must create a lot of internal anger and frustration. Add this to their struggle with identity, rejection, acceptance, and being uprooted from everything they know and it's a volatile mix adding to their sorrow, confusion, loss and anger. When language and communication are gone, one is left without meaning; stumbling to say what one thinks, what one feels, and what one wants. It's harder to trust those you don't understand.

I can't imagine coming here as an older child and no longer be able to speak my birth language: the language of my identity. As Dr. Sharon Glennen wrote on the subject, "The loss of the first language before the new adopted language develops leaves the internationally adopted child in a linguistic and educational limbo."  Essentially, until the adopted child learns the new language, they have none. And it negatively impacts "cognitive and linguistic development."  As Glennen goes on to write:

Consider these facts. The typical 6 year old understands over 20,000 English words (Owens, 2000).  A 5 year old child adopted from another country would need to learn an average of 54 new words every day in order to fully catch up in language comprehension abilities by age 6.  If the catch up timeframe is stretched out to 2 years, the adopted 5 year old would still need to learn an average of 27 new words every day to fully catch up by age 7.  However, while the adopted child has been playing catch-up, his 6 year old friends have also added an average of 5,000 words to their vocabulary.  By age 7, the typical child understands 25,000 words.  In order to fully catch up within a 2 year window, the adopted 5 year old needs to learn an average of 34 words per day.  In summary, expecting older adopted children to develop proficient English language skills within 1 or 2 years of adoption is unrealistic. 

Yet aren't those expectations put on these kids?

And they must feel it as they have to learn a new language by sink-or-swim method. How much pressure and stress must that cause them?  

Is it any wonder that Cava was so angry when he got here?

We have worked with him in not only learning his new language, but helping him understand meaning and context for all the new words he's encountering.  Going to speech therapy has been a big help in equipping us, as his parents, to ways we can help him do this and succeed. Because of Cava's hard work and determination, he is beginning to see the fruits of his labors. He is making good grades and this is also impacting behavior. He is able to understand and be understood. More importantly, he is finding acceptance. How much greater are his strides going to be with all of these in place this year?

I cannot wait to see what this boy can accomplish.



To read more of Dr. Glennen's writing and to find more resources on the matter of language development in internationally adopted children, go to the following website:
http://pages.towson.edu/sglennen/index.htm







Friday, September 18, 2015

Accidents & Elections


During this time of presidential debates, names like Trump and Clinton are heard a lot. Amidst this fray of Republicans and Democrats, I was thrilled when a new candidate threw their name into the political ring - Cava Blackwell! To my delight, he decided to run for his fourth grade student council.  This was a huge step for him because it meant he was putting himself out there. 

This year has started off on the right foot. We have had all "green" days and Cava has been getting good grades. He has even made his first friend. He has begun playing football with other boys.  All of these things are the answer to a lot of prayers and a lot of hard work, especially on Cava's part. 

I must admit that, with the excitement, I was a bit nervous for Cava. 

What if he didn't win? 

He might take the defeat as a rejection and then this would lead to anger and possibly him getting in trouble and so on. 

But I was not going to let my fear of  what might happen get in the way of him doing this. Besides, I was proud of him for being so brave. I told him this. 

Benjamin created the Superman image with Cava's face. Danelle came up with his slogan of, "Who's your Superman?" 

I worked with Cava on his speech. First, I asked him, "Why should your classmates vote for you?"

He didn't give me his usual, "I don't know," but thought for a bit before saying, "I'm nice."

That was our starting point and I continued to ask him what attributes (although I didn't use that word with him) would make him a good person to be on student council, how he thought he could help his class, etcetera. It took us an hour for him to come up with what he thought were reasons why they should vote for him and then we typed the speech up.  Here it is:

Hi, my name is Cava Blackwell.

I am running for student council because I love (his school) and think it’s a great school, but together we can make it even better.

Why should you vote for me?

Because I am hard working and do not give up. I will do my very best for you.

I am a good listener who will pay attention to what other students have to say.  I will make sure that your voices are heard in student council.

I am honest and responsible. I like to help others.

I am respectful to teachers. 

I am nice and friendly.

I don’t give up. I don’t quit. And I won’t quit working for you on the student council, so please vote for me.

Thank you for your time and your vote.

Once we had the speech written, we worked on his delivery. When Cava gets nervous, he speaks very quickly and that makes it harder to understand him. I worked with getting him to slow down, enunciate clearly, and how to sell himself. We worked on him not just looking at the piece of paper and reading the speech, but looking up to make eye contact with his classmates.

And we prayed. 

Danelle and I also spoke with him on the possibility that he might lose and how he should handle it.

And we prayed.

Today was the day of the speech and the election.  His teacher told me what time they were doing the speeches and I had asked Cava if he wanted me to come. He immediately beamed his big Cava smile and said, "Sure! That would be great!" He was so happy to hear I would be there for him, in his corner, cheering him on.

This morning, I drove Cava to school. We prayed together before he got out of the car and then I drove off and would return at 9 am. So I thought.  As John Lennon aptly said, "Life is what happens while we're busy making other plans." And boy did it ever today.  I was in a car accident. When it happened, all I could think was, "I'm going to miss Cava's speech." That, more than the damage to my car, saddened me. The car could be fixed, but I knew Cava would be looking for me. I knew he would be hurt that I wasn't there. I didn't know how that would affect his speech and him. I contacted the school to let them know. I called Danelle at work and told her.  


While I waited for the police to show up, I prayed. I prayed for Cava. I prayed that I would be able to get there in time. 

I felt some relief when Danelle showed up. 

After the cop had taken the report, Danelle rushed us to Cava's school. We got there right at 9 am and the office let Cava's teacher know that we were there and were coming. She waited until we got to class and then asked which candidate wanted to go first. Without missing a beat, Cava's hand shot up and he went to the front of the class.  


Although he spoke quietly, Cava did not rush and he looked up and at different students as he spoke. I was so proud of him. Whether or not he got picked for student council, this boy was a winner. 


When he had finished, everyone clapped, especially his Mom and I. 

There were quite a few candidates running against him. We listened to all their speeches, clapped for each child, and, when they had finished, left.  In the car, Danelle and I talked about which ones we thought had done well, who we thought would be his biggest competition, but mostly we focused on how truly proud we were of Cava. All of this is a tribute to the progress he has made in just under three years.  It is amazing to see how far he's come, where he is, and where he is going in his life. Him standing before his peers and opening himself up to potential rejection was enormous.  


His teacher told us that she would tally all of the votes later and would not announce the winner until the end of the day. This was a relief to us because then, should he lose, we could deal with Cava's disappointment and hurt at home. 

But we couldn't wait until we knew. In between dealing with the insurance company and getting a car rental, our thoughts and conversation were about Cava and wondering how he did.

Why couldn't the time to pick Cava up come sooner?

The wait in the car line felt longer because of our anticipation.  

We prepared ourselves for the worst so that we would be ready to console him.

When we finally pulled the car up in front of the school, Cava came out with a huge grin. We knew without his saying a word that he won. Tears welled up in my eyes. Not just for this victory for student council, but the much bigger victory of Cava feeling a sense of acceptance by his classmates. That alone put into perspective how trivial the matter with the damage to the car really was. This was a day for celebration.













Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Heart Problem


"Adoption is a beautiful picture of redemption. It is the Gospel in my living room."
- Katie Davis, Kisses From Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption

Jesus did not ask us to take care of orphans. He commanded that we do. 

There are 153 million orphans in the world. 

When we look at that number, it can be overwhelming, but it's ultimately not a problem of numbers. It's a problem of the heart. 

Are we, as followers of Christ, being obedient to His call to take care of orphans and opening our hearts to their needs? 

It's not about numbers, it's about love. 

It's about seeing the fatherless as God sees them: of infinite value and worth. 

We are called to be light in the darkness, even if that darkness is the brokenness of a damaged child who has only known neglect and rejection. 

It's about bringing joy to sorrow, love to loss, and healing to hurts. It's about seeing the beauty in the brokenness. It's about loving the unloved even when they are at their most unlovable. 

Is that not how Christ loves us? 

As John 14:18 says, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."

Are we willing to offer them a future and a family or are we going to offer them only our indifference?

We cannot save the world. Only Christ can. But we can love the world one person at a time. And that's all these kids want - to be loved. 

Will you open your heart to a child?


Here are some links to find out how you can be involved in orphan care:


I Care About Orphans (http://icareaboutorphans.org/)

Lifesong for Orphans (http://www.lifesongfororphans.org/)

New Horizons for Children (http://nhfc.org/)





Thursday, September 10, 2015

I See You


This morning, taking Cava to school, the song "I See You" by Rich Mullins came on my iPod. Now this song has played in my car numerous times but this time Cava asked, "What does that mean?"

"What does what mean?" I asked him.

"Everywhere I go I see You," he said.

I started with the easy part, the lyrics that start off the song:

Lord You're leading me 
With a cloud by day
And then in the night
The glow of a burning flame

We talked about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and how God led them by the cloud by day and the fire by night and how if the cloud or the fire moved, they moved, but if it didn't move, they stayed put.


From there, I moved on to how we can see God in the world because He was the author and creator of all of it. One example Cava loved in the song was "Well the eagle flies."  Cava loves birds, especially birds of prey, so that struck a chord with him. But we moved past nature to people. I explained to him how we are all made in the image of God and how different would we treat others if we really looked at them that way.

"Everyone?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered.

"Even those people we don't like and who are mean to us?"

"Even them. In fact, we should especially try to see God in them because He has called us to pray for them."

"Why?"

"Because He knows it's easy to pray for those we love, but it is very difficult to pray for those who have hurt us, wronged us, or we don't like.  But when we do that, even if they don't change, it changes us because praying for someone helps you to love them.  It helps us heal beause we aren't carrying that anger and hurt, but are moving in a love that is greater than ourselves."

I can see from his expression that his mind is processing this and I know what's coming and, sure enough, he brings up those who were cruel and hurt him back in Ukraine. "Cava, when we hate those who hurt us, it only hurts us. Those kids and adults in Ukraine don't know you are hating them, it doesn't effect them, it only effects you. But when you pray for them, forgive them, and learn to love them, it only heals you."

I could tell that he wasn't so sure about all this so I added, "I don't expect you to be able to do that right away. It's hard. For all of us. And you have more hurts than most of us do, but I know that when you finally are able to begin, so much of that anger that is always there inside of you will begin to go away. I pray that for you."

After he got out of the car, I wondered if he would look at those around him and see them differently. I drove off to work, got in the morning traffic, and prayed that I would do the same and began to pray for those who I might not normally pray for.  I pray for Ukraine daily, but today I prayed for Putin. How often have I prayed for his destruction and not his salvation?  I recalled how, during World War II, C.S. Lewis prayed for Hitler.


I began to wonder how different the world would be if we truly did pray for those we normally critized.  Or how differently would it be if we did treat others as if we viewed them as image bearers of our Heavenly Father.  And we might also really see someone then. Not just as a waitress, or clerk when we're checking out, or any number of other encounters during our hectic days. Or how we would approach other ethnicities, immigrants, and refugees. Or the homeless.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting."

I will definitely take that opportunity to not only try to see others that way, but to pray for others that way.




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Maidan & Winter On Fire


For those who want to understand what exactly is going on in Ukraine, on October 9th, Netflix will be premiering a documentary entitled "Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight For Freedom" by Evgeny Afineevksy.  It covers 93 days in which a million citizens of Ukraine took to the streets to protest a repressive government led by former-President Viktor Yanukovych, and support of European integration.  Yanukovych then retaliated with armed violence towards the peaceful protestors. This documentary shows how truly remarkable Ukrainians are and how they long for peace, freedom, and a democratic government.


Here is a time-line for that period (this comes from USA Today):

Nov. 21: Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's government announces it is abandoning an agreement that would strengthen ties with theEuropean Union. It seeks closer cooperation with Moscow. Protesters take to the streets.

Dec. 1: A protest attracts about 300,000 people at Kiev's Independence Square. Activists seize Kiev City Hall.

Dec. 17: Russian President Vladimir Putin announces Moscow will buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian government bonds and all for a cut in the price Ukrainians pay for Russian natural gas.

Jan. 22: The first protest deaths. Two die after being hit with live ammunition and the third after a fall during a confrontation between police and demonstrators manning barricades.

Jan. 28: The prime minister resigns and the parliament repeals harsh anti-protest laws.

Feb. 16: Opposition activists end their occupation of Kiev City Hall in exchange for release of all jailed protesters.

Feb. 18: Street clashes erupt, leaving at least 26 dead and hundreds injured.

Feb. 22: Yanukovych flees the country after a political coup. Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is released from prison.

Feb. 23: The last day of the Sochi Olympics.

Feb. 24: Ukraine's interim government and president, Oleksandr Turchinov, issues a warrant for the arrest of Yanukovych.

Feb. 25: Pro-Russian protesters take a stand in Crimea. Yanukovych's former chief of staff is wounded by gunfire and hospitalized.

Feb. 26: Amid clashing protesters in Crimea, Putin orders military exercises in western Russia. Secretary of State John Kerry vows $1 billion in loan aid to Ukraine.

Feb. 27: Yanukovych surfaces in Russia, appearing for the first time since fleeing Ukraine. Russian jets are on standby in case of combat.

Feb. 28: Armed men in Russian military uniforms take control of key airports in Crimea. Russian marines surround a Ukraine coast guard base in Sevastopol. Obama warns "there will be costs" for Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

Here's the trailer for the film:


Netflix currently has Sergei Loznitsa's documentary "Maidan: Uprising in Ukraine" for streaming. It received a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. It's called an "unblinking look at Ukraine's history."  Loznitsa was born in Belarus but raised in Kyiv. Unlike many documentaries, this one does not interpret what is taking place as he films the protests and the violence. 


Here is the trailer for that film:



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

For Love Of Country


Though it has been nearly three years since I left Ukraine, it has never left me. It is a country that is deep in my heart. I fell in love with this beautiful country, its beautiful people, the food, the richness of its culture and history. That country changed me. Just as Cava is now a part of our family, so, too, is the country he comes from.

Not a day passes that I don't pray for this country and its people. I pray for peace. I pray that they can remain a free and independent Ukraine. I pray that churches around the world pray for them. I pray that other countries come to Ukraine's aid and stand with her against any and all who would attempt to prevail against her and take her freedom. I pray for those who have lost family members in their fight against Russia. I pray that its leaders are men and women of strong character. I pray that God gives them wisdom to lead. I pray for unity and protection. I pray for those who would go to Ukraine to give them aid. I pray for all of the refugees. I pray for the orphans in the eastern regions who are affected by this.

Please join me in praying for them.


While much of the media has forgotten this country, our family has not. We love and pray for a country that we, one day, would like to go back and visit so that we can show our son just how gorgeous Ukraine really is. We want him to be proud to say that he is Ukrainian and be able to embrace that part of himself.




Monday, September 7, 2015

His Ways


I don't tend to be one of those people who ask God to give them a verse, flip open their Bible, and there one is. Typically, I end up getting some whacked-out verse about dashing babies heads against the rocks. Yet last week, while going through some struggles about what was going on in the lives of very dear friends of mine, I was in the school car line and began praying. I did ask God to give me something, anything. I opened the small Bible I keep in my car and found that it was Isaiah 55. There were those words:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways," 
declares the Lord.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Talk about your understatements.

But that was hardly a comfort - at first. At first it felt like a parent replying, "Because I said so."  I'm sure Job did not feel much comfort in God's response of, "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?" His reminder that He alone was God might strike many who read this answer as cold and far from comforting to a man who had everything taken from him. It silenced Job but I doubt it comforted him.  What God was telling him, and us, is that we don't need to know everything and we cannot understand everything because we are not thinking eternally but focus on our limited scope of the here and now. God does not fit in the limitations of our expectations. And too often we are more grounded in our emotions and our expectations than in Him. That's where we feel the rub of the matter because we want God's way to be our way; for things to go our way and to have things turn out the way we want them to. It's painful and difficult to have walked in obedience to God's call and watch as everything appears to be falling apart. We look around amidst the rubble that is left and think, "This was not how it was supposed to be." But how many of us pick up that rubble and make an altar out of it to praise God?

Yet, when we are in the midst of our pain, these words can often strike as pious and hollow instead of healing and compassionate. Yet we know from Jesus and how He intereacted with people while He was here in earth, that God is healing and compassionate. That He grieves, that He weeps just as we do and He does with us.

Sitting in church yesterday morning, feeling the sorrow felt by two families who are among our best and dearest friends, I was struck by the line in the hymn "I Stand Amazed in The Presence" that goes: He took my sins and my sorrows . . . We so often focus on Christ taking our sins, that we forget that He also took on our sorrows. He took on the daily sadness, the heartbreak, the grief, and the hurt of loss on Himself. No tear shed is insignifcant to Him (Psalm 56:8). Isaiah 53:4 tells us, "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows . . ."  He has borne our griefs means that He "carried, sustained and endured" them just as one bears a physical load. That's why He tells us, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29). He is asking us to give Him the burdens of our hurts, our doubts, our fears, our unsettledness, and our grief and, in return, He will give us rest.  He does not want us to be heavy laden, which means burdened with grief, distress, and fear.

This reveals to us, through Christ, that God is not distant and unfeeling, but that He cares so much about our sorrows, griefs, and afflictions that He takes them on Himself on the cross. His love is an incomprehensible love that has no height or depth or breadth or length. As Madeleine L'Engle wrote, "He has a strange way of loving; it is not man's way, but I find evidence in my own experience that it is better than man's way, and that it leads to a fuller life, and to extraordinary joy. Nails were not enough to hold God-and-man nailed to the cross had not love kept him there."

That is a love that is beyond our comprehension.

That same Jesus who has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows on the cross is also our intecessor before God. The One who took on all of our hurts and sadness can now take that pain that we pour out in our prayers to Him before the Father. As Hebrews 7:25 tells us, "Therefore He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through Him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf."  That is powerful. Christ now "lives forever" to intercede on our behalf. The word intercesision means, "the action of intervening on behalf of another."   While we cannot go before a holy God, Christ can and does as our Shepherd who is still powerfully pleading and petitioning when we are facing difficulties or troubles. John even describes Jesus as our "advocate with the Father" and He understands our hurts, our weaknesses, but comes to His Father in grace.

Going back to God's answer to Job, He was also reminding him that he, being finite man, could not see the infinite plan that God sees. Unlike man, who is stuck in the narrow confines of chronological time, God isn't. God is in Kairos, which is the Greek word for the right moment.  He is not limited by sequential time but also sees all of time. Because of this His way is perfect. Second Samuel 22:31 tells us, "As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."

God is compassionate. He is our redeemer. He is our protector. He is there in our times of troubles. He never leaves us, never forgets us, never forsake us. His is all wisdom. He offers us peace instead of anxiety. He offers us comfort and grace and unfailing love. As the Psalms tell us, "His steadfast love endures forever" (Psalm 107:1). And, ultimately, He is in control. We have to remember that our sorrows are momentary and that God is not. In the end, as Revelation 21:4 says, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."