Each season of life, especially the difficult, can deepen our understanding of God and our relationship with him.
My wife and I are adopting, and at times during the process I’ve felt helpless, hurt, and discouraged. Even so, this hardship has given me an unforgettable perspective of God’s holiness. Even though I walk through the valley of waiting, I am overwhelmed by breathtaking mountains of God’s glory.
Snapshot of Our Story
A while ago, we hired a photographer and a designer to create a beautiful profile book. It includes our goals, stories, and pictures, all highlighting our faith in Jesus, our love for each other, and our desire to adopt.
When we hear of a case through an adoption agency we’ve applied to, we choose whether to present our profile book. If we do, we wait for the expectant mom to choose between the various profiles she’s received from the agency. This takes between a few days to a few weeks. The growing anticipation makes receiving a rejection all the more difficult to bear.
It’s hard to say no to cases, harder to hear a no, and hardest to hear nothing for weeks or months. But I want to share three comforts I have found in this valley, to encourage you in your walk with the Lord.
1. God’s Endless Care
Choosing whether to present our profile book as we receive cases requires my wife and me to be honest about ourselves as prospective parents—honest about my limited ability to protect and provide. God has not created me to be the father for every child in need. It is hurtful and humbling, however wise the decision may be, to say, “No, I cannot care for that child as my own.”
How different is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). He is not like me; his ability to protect and provide is limitless. How beautiful are his words, “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37).
Christ welcomes his own into the family of God, into the loving arms of God the Father, who knows and supplies each and every need we have (Matt. 6:30, 32). And he does so with more love, gentleness, and wisdom than any earthly father could (Matt. 7:11).
2. God’s Unconditional Yes
Thanks to the amazing work of our photographer and our designer, our profile book is a beautiful representation of my wife and me. When expectant moms consider us, they are looking at high-definition photos of our home, neighborhood, and us, smiling and having fun. When people review this book, they are considering our very best image.
But in response to this, all we’ve heard is no, no, and no (and add a few more). Deep down, I blame myself. I assume my best image isn’t good enough for anyone to pick us. If only I was taller, if only I had more interesting hobbies, if only I made more money—then someone would pick me.
God’s grace stands in great contrast to these worries. When my very best image is rejected, I remember how my very worst self was accepted. God adopted me as a son through Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:5), and he did so while I was weak, while I was his enemy (Rom. 5:6, 10). This acceptance is above all others!
3. God’s Perfect Providence
Rejections are tough, but repeatedly checking an empty inbox is tougher. Periods of inactivity unsettle me, causing unique fear (did I miss the baby God planned for me?), indecision (should we change our budget to see more cases?), and unhelpful speculation (I feel like we must be getting closer).
Even so, it is my inability to control or know that leads me to rejoice all the more at the glory of God’s providence. God indeed does “uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things . . . according to his infallible foreknowledge” (Westminster Confession of Faith, V.1; see Eph. 1:11). When I am unable, the Lord is still able. When I don’t know, the Lord knows.
When my very best image is rejected, I remember how my very worst self was accepted.
I want to be clear—God’s providence does not guarantee I will someday have a child. God’s providence is perfect and awe-inspiring, regardless of whether he grants our prayer to become parents.
I’m soothed by his sovereignty, which I see more clearly in my sorrow. Seasons of waiting, weeping, yearning, and praying show how different I am from the omnipotent God, who creates galaxies with the sound of his voice.
Worship in Every Season
Each season of life brings new glimpses of God’s glory. The one we’re in right now is hard, but he is leading us through and teaching us more about himself every day. In our weakness, we see his strength more and more.
Your current season may not be one of waiting on an adoption or hoping to become a parent. But whatever it is, ask yourself in the midst of it: what can this season uniquely teach you about God’s glory?