Retreat. Rest. Room…. making Room for the Lord is what I have desired during this season. Not just this holiday season, but this season of life. A season that is still and quiet - full of anticipation and preparation. It was a year ago this week that we shared with our families that we had begun the adoption process. This year has been full of highs and lows, but God has been with us every step of the way providing for us and protecting our hearts as we anticipate a phone call and our first trip to meet our little guy. As an official “waiting family”, my heart is ready and expecting to get the call super soon while also accepting the reality of possibly waiting for months and months before seeing his sweet face for the first time. Waiting… Why? How? What do we do? And… for how long? These are questions that I ask myself and sometimes wrestle with daily, but in the end, only one thing I know is certain: God is with us and working in our waiting.
July was our last mission to Kenya before starting the adoption process, and we went knowing it would be our last for quite some time as we prepare to take multiple trips to Haiti and bring our baby boy home. In recent weeks, I have become so very homesick for Kenya, our “Peace Place” and missing our kids and dear friends who are there. We are grateful for the opportunity to send others in this season of not being able to go, but desire to live life on mission here or there and daily look for opportunities to love and serve others. So, I may not be able to go to Africa, but this past Friday, Africa came to me. While working at The Rev, a young guy from Rwanda stopped in and shared his incredible story with me. After having the opportunity to study engineering here in the U.S., he began working as an engineer, but then quit his job and started a business in order to give back to the people of Rwanda. I was so grateful to have met him and hear his accent and his heart. After chatting for quite a bit and making plans to have him and his wife over for dinner sometime, I remembered that I did not know his name. So, I introduced myself again and asked for his name. He smiled. “My name is Emmanuel.” He headed out the door just as tears began to fill my eyes. Emmanuel... “God with us”.
Matthew 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
God with us… In the quiet. In the stillness. While we wait.
He was with Sarah, Hannah, Ruth, and Esther in the Old Testament while they waited for babies, provision and opportunity. In the New Testament, He was with Mary when she was chosen to bring the Messiah into the world. However, in their season of waiting, they were found faithful and obedient.
Waiting is not fun, and life is not easy or fair. So, why do we expect or think we deserve easy, fun or fair? God’s Word does not communicate that the Christian life will always be easy or even make sense. God sent His Son to provide eternal life. He promised eternal life, not a “peaches and cream” life. We will never know the answers to all of the questions we have or be able to truly understand it all. BUT, He is with us.
Isaiah 55:6-13 “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
Joy. Peace. Singing… No matter the season. He is Emmanuel, “God with us”. Even on the tough days. Even in the quiet, still seasons when all we have is questions and no answers. Trust Him. Trust His Word. Choose JOY while you Marvel in the Mystery of it all.
“Joy is not necessarily the absence of suffering, it is the presence of God.” Sam Storms
Worship in Waiting: