Oh, my. We really need some faith.
All of us live and work by faith to some degree. We stop at red lights and then go when it turns green, because we have a measure of faith that the other traffic will stop. When a police car flashes the blue and red lights behind us, we pull over, because we have a measure of faith that the police officer is indeed a good guy, and won't hurt us. But this is natural faith. In this adoption process, that natural faith is simply not enough. God is calling me to a supernatural faith.
Our pastor preached on this last Sunday and I wanted to process it more and share it with you. When it was time for the Israelites to enter the promised land (the first time), Moses and all the people were standing on a high place, overlooking the land. (See Deuteronomy 1:19-21). They looked out and Moses said that this is the land "which the Lord our God is giving us....Go up and take possession of it."
Lets be clear on something. The command to go and take possession of the land meant, "go and fight and take the land from the people who are there." God was going to empower them, fight for them, do the heavy lifting so to speak, but they still had their job to do. They had to go, walking in faith.
At the end of that passage, Moses says "Do not be afraid or discouraged." Why would he need to say that? Because what was in front of them could strike fear and discouragement in their hearts. If they didn't have faith.
Then, all the people wanted to go and scout out the land before they went into it. That seemed like a good idea to Moses (v.23). I mean, who wouldn't want to get a good look at what the future entails. Who wouldn't want to see which hills they would have to climb, or which river they would have to cross? But, what happened? Even though they saw the "good land" in verse 25, the people, based on apparent circumstances (giant men, fortified cities, etc) became afraid. They refused to walk in faith.
After all the miracles they had seen, after the plagues, the sparing of their firstborn, the parting of the sea, the destruction of Pharaoh's army...verse 32 of chapter 1 says "But in spite of this you did not trust the Lord your God." Side note: more information does not always have a positive affect on our faith.
We are at this point in our adoption journey. We are looking out over where we are supposed to go, and we see giants and fortifications. Governments and laws and men who refuse to help and sickness for our son. We see no natural way that this is going to happen. And we have seen the miracles that God has done to bring us to this point. We are at a crossroads...we will choose faith, or will we choose fear?
Moses chose faith, the Israelites chose fear. And then, when they saw the consequences of that, they decided to fight! The problem was, that their faith at that point wasn't in God, but in their presumption, and they went ahead in their own power and were completely defeated. You see, faith isn't simply "going" and "doing", but it is dependence and obedience. In trusting, not in any natural method, but in the Lord.
Hebrews 11:27 says that Moses "persevered as one who sees Him who is invisible." Often times we want faith, but we aren't face to face with our God. Moses chose faith because he was face to face with God. For me to choose faith, I must trust HIM. I trust Him because I know Him. I know Him by learning about Him, choosing to obey Him, and experiencing His trustworthiness. The more I am face to face with Him, the easier choosing faith becomes. In Moses's mind, the land was already theirs! God had already given it to them!
Joseph is already ours. The Lord has already given him to us. We really don't know what is ahead. From the little scouting that we've been able to do, things look pretty scary. Pretty impossible. But God is saying to us "don't be afraid or discouraged!" And we must choose to put our faith, not in some natural method to get our son home, but in God!
With all the news coming from the Department of States, from the embassy, from people on the ground in the DRC, from the adoption agency, it is very easy to be blown all over the place. One minute ecstatic and hopeful, one minute in total despair. But our feet are firmly planted. We are firmly planted by faith. We will not doubt. We will not be blown around. Because our God is a firm foundation! And HE will NOT be moved!
Our faith is in a sovereign God, not in the outcome.
If you've read this far, it would be worth it to read a little further. Here is a quote from a book called Trusting God by Jerry Bridges: "We can learn God's will for our character intellectually through reading and studying the Scriptures - and we should do that. That is where change begins as our minds are renewed. But real change - down in the depth of our souls - is produced as the tenets of Scripture are worked out in real life. This usually involves adversity. We may admire and even desire the character trait of patience, but we will never learn patience until we have been treated unjustly and learn experientially to "suffer long" (the meaning of patience) the one who treats us unjustly."