Tuesday, September 23, 2008

God In The Storm

I’ve been thinking about God in the storm a lot this past week as I watched Leslie and her husband make the journey to bring little Susannah home… it’s the blog I’ve listed a couple of times asking for prayer. (You can click on red words to go the mentioned blog.)

Our own adoption journey has been so different, so smooth. Yes, it’s had some difficult challenges, but as adoptions go, we have been incredibly blessed. It’s easy for people to look at our journey and see that it was clearly God’s plan for us to adopt Abby.

But what if it hadn’t turned out so well? What if it had been far more difficult than we were prepared for? What if she had had challenges much greater than we expected? Would that make us question if we had really understood God correctly?

It’s happened in my own life before and I’ve seen it happen with others…we step out in faith and things don’t go like we expected…we get a storm instead of a picnic in the park…and all of a sudden we’re questioning…was that really God’s will for my life? Did I misunderstand Him? Where did I go wrong?

I think if I had been in Leslie’s shoes this week…that’s exactly where I would have found myself, questioning… is this really the little girl God meant for us or did He bring her into our life to lead us to the little girl He really had planned for us?

Leslie said on her blog that it wasn’t exactly the Gotcha Day she had imagined…it’s not one any adoptive parent would imagine or dream of…and it could reasonably make you question, is this really God’s plan for my life? Did I really understand Him correctly?

But that’s what so inspired me about Leslie… Whatever questions she and Charlie may have had, she stayed the course. They fought hard for their precious daughter and hopefully, as I write this, they are safely home in the US.

I have another friend, April, who went through a different storm, but equally heart wrenching as they went through the process to bring their daughter home. And like Leslie, she never wavered in her faith…she stayed the course, trusting that God was in the storm, working out His perfect plan.

In Exodus 14: 21-22, God parted the Red Sea and delivered the Israelites to freedom… ”Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”

God brought about their deliverance with a strong east wind…in other words a storm! In other places God uses storms for judgment, I know that doesn’t apply to either of these situations but what occurred to me is that those storms of judgments, are ultimately storms that refine…so even those kinds of storms are good storms.

But with Leslie and April, God used a storm to deliver their precious children to families who would love them and give them a chance at life…Leslie’s daughter is incredibly sick, April’s daughter is shockingly under nourished…1 year old and only 12 pounds. The faith of both of these ladies has inspired me…I am so thankful that God crossed our paths and allowed me to witness His glory in such amazing ways…my faith has grown in the process.

The bottom line is that storms are going to occur, and God is good to use them for a purpose. We might wonder, why doesn’t a good and loving God just stop the storm? But I have to go back to what I’ve said before, man rebelled against God, we invited sin and it’s consequences into the world, so God is merciful to do anything…even to use the storms in our life for good…He NEVER wastes one ounce of our suffering!

Diamonds are pure carbon atoms…what we know as dirty, nasty coal until intense pressure and incredibly high temperatures are applied…the storms God allows into our lives are for the purpose of turning us into the most beautiful diamonds…He really does bring beauty from the ashes!

This morning, the verse in my devotion took my breath away…I don’t know how I’ve missed it before, but I’m so glad God brought it to my attention today…Isaiah 63:9, “In all their distress, He too was distressed, and the angel of His presence saved them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.”

In the storms of life, God is distressed when we are distressed…His heart breaks when our heart breaks…He weeps when we weep…and He will save us…He will redeem the heart break and He will carry us forever. I’ve watched Him do that a few times in my life…when my friend’s husband died of cancer…when 2 of my friend’s sons were killed in Iraq…when I watched Leslie walk the path with Susannah…

God really is with us in the storm and one day He will redeem it for a glory we can’t even begin to imagine…

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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