We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us;
we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.
- C.S. Lewis
I came across this quote in a rather timely read of Mary Beth Chapman’s book Choosing to See. The book is about Mary Beth’s life, her marriage to musician Steven Curtis Chapman, the birth of her children, the adoptions of her three youngest daughters, and the tragic death of her 5-year-old in 2008. Reading through this painful story has helped me work through a lot of the pain and sadness I’ve run into this past week as John and I wait endlessly for our adoption to move forward. Sort of an “if-she-can-make-it-through-that-then-I-can-make-it-through-this” kind of a read.
While our adoption process had been moving along fairly well- albeit slower than we had hoped for- we’ve come to a standstill. The home study is long done. Fundraising complete. Agency fees paid and sent. Our preliminary dossier carried to Russia; it should even be translated by now. All our immigration paperwork has been sent in to the US government. And now? We wait, endlessly- waiting for Moscow to lift the adoption suspension and start registering dossiers again.
I wake up every morning, hit the snooze button, and begin to pray for our little guy. I walk around our neighborhood, whispering prayers to God- asking him to AWAKE and act on our behalf. Pointing out that if he can make spring happen, raise every blade of grass to life, and command the trees to burst with blossoms- if he can create new life where only weeks ago it looked like there was none- then surely he can move a government to lift this adoption suspension. I lie down at night wondering what our little guy is doing, if he’s just getting up for the day, and hoping he’s well cared for. I imagine what it’s going to be like to finally hold him in my arms and then I force myself to think about something else, otherwise I’d never sleep.
I cry a lot because even though I know God’s putting all things back together in Christ, the effects of the fall are still too powerful. I cry out because I hate that the world is still so broken and I lament that God seems so slow to move sometimes. I cry because I don’t know whether my faith is weak or whether I’m right to be so upset in the face of brokenness.
I’m not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us;
I’m wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.
I’ve received a lot of assurances through our adoption journey. “It will all work out.” “All in God’s timing.” “He has a plan!”
But “a plan” that “works out” in “God’s timing” still leaves room for lament. Think of the martyrs whose testimony far surpasses my own; their deaths were part of a plan that worked out in God’s timing… but still, they died.
The only thing I know is that somehow it all works out for God’s glory. In that, my faith is unwavering.
But in the rest of it, I cry out with the Psalmist:
How long O Lord?
Will you forget me forever?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts?
And day after day have sorrow in my heart?
I trust that this endless waiting and wondering and worrying is God’s best. I trust it works out for his glory. I’m just wondering how much more painful it’s going to be.
Jillian Burden is an expectant mama; she and her husband are expecting their