Great Summer Reads: Exodus
This week at Hope we started a new message series, Great Summer Reads. Over the summer, we are going to hear about the great stories in the bible. It started off with Moses and the Exodus. If you did not get to church, I highly suggest you listen to the podcasts. One thing I am really liking about being a church with 2 campuses is hearing the different variations the preachers have on the same topic. And if you have never read the story of the Exodus in the bible, I along with Jeff and Rick encourage you to read it. It is one of the most exciting stories ever told.
When I first read the story of the Exodus, I remember thinking, “how dopey can these Israelites be? They saw all of the plagues. They had a pillar of fire leading them. THEY SAW THE RED SEA PART AND THE EGYPTIAN ARMY KILLED. Their food was laying on the ground every morning and a whole host of other things. And they whined and complained and still had a hard time trusting God. What was wrong with them?” Then God, ever so gently, spoke to my spirit and said, “You are just like them.” Ugh, he was right. God has come through for me in the tough times, not just occasionally, but EVERY SINGLE TIME. Perhaps not how I thought he would at first, but came thru nonetheless. But yet I would whine and complain and not go when He told me to go. Sigh. But I have learned over the years and I am better at trusting in the God who created me.
I want to share with you one of those times that God came thru. In sharing it with you, it is a reminder to me, because I tend to forget God’s faithfulness when the storms of life come. One of the challenges of our life was infertility. Scott and I were able to have Kelsey biologically, thru multiple interventions, but after her, we could not achieve another pregnancy. So God graciously opened the door for adoption to us. We started thinking we would get a little girl from China and that it would be about 6 months or so and we would have our baby, anywhere from 9-18 months old. As soon as we got the paperwork finished (and paid the initial money), the program temporarily shut down. It was closed for about a year. Then it opened again, but we did not receive an assignment right away cause we already had a child. Then we were told we might be assigned a much older child, possibly with birth defects. We were open to what God wanted. Then our agency decided we would be better off going to Vietnam, a country that did not have as many restrictions. So we switched (and paid more money to redo everything to make the switch). We got an assignment right away. Hooray, things are finally looking up. But then, we were told we could not travel soon. More time goes by. Finally a trip was scheduled, but Scott and I were not allowed to go on that trip. It turned out that trip was terrible, a few couples came home without their babies. And the woman in Vietnam doing all the arrangements disappeared with the rest of our money. We could not understand. Should we give up? But we kept going, came up with more money, and got a new assignment of a newborn baby. Three more months and we were able to travel to get her. She was perfect, and we named her Emily.
Here is the interesting part. During that 2 year or so period, Scott and I lost money, had adoption “miscarriages” and could not understand why all this was happening. Didn’t God open this door in the first place? We had prayed with the people from Hope. Why was everything seeming to go wrong? We met Emily’s birthmother in Vietnam (a highly unusual occurrence). She wrote us a letter during the adoption ceremony, in Vietnamese. Took a couple of days to get it translated. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were in our hotel room, with the translator and Emily in my arms. Em’s birthmother is a divorced mom, with 3 other children to feed. She said in her letter that she was a Christian (there are very few Christians in Vietnam), and she was praying for a Christian family to come and adopt her. It was so clear how much she loved her little girl, enough to give her to a family that could afford to raise her. I have only heard God’s voice audibly a couple of times in my life, and this was one of them. God spoke to me and said, “Do you now see why you had to wait? The daughter that I picked out for you had not been born yet when you started the process.” I am tearing up now as I write these words. God is so faithful. If he can arrange for our desire to have another child in this way, and so personally, how can he not arrange for us to get thru all the other obstacles in our life?
I wish I could say from that moment on that I completely trusted God, the first time, without whining or complaining or refusing to follow him, but I can’t. It has been a process for me. But I have found God is patient and loving and what I can say is that I trust him more today than yesterday. I am learning to take God at his word. So if today you are going thru a trial, and you cannot see where your life is headed, I encourage you to remember your own story with God and be brave enough to tell someone about it. Remember all the times he has come thru for you and it will strengthen your faith. Also read the great stories in the bible, of how God has come thru for his people. God is still in that business.