“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Several years ago my daughter-in-law and I slipped away from a family campout to go hiking. We talked about many things that afternoon, including her plan to enroll in a graduate program in human services.
“But you love theatre and drama and are gifted in the performing arts; we would be robbed of those talents and passion. “Why this program,” I gently probed.
“Because I don’t feel like I’ve suffered enough,” she replied.
I paused, respecting her authenticity and sweet spirit. “But suffering always has a way of finding us without looking for it,” I said.
Suffering has found many adoptive moms.
Adoption consumes us: the desire, the process, and the reality of parenting a child with compromised beginnings who never asked to be adopted. Expectations crash into reality. Collisions happen. Dreams shatter – and suffering finds us.
We suffer not only the loss of our dreams; we also suffer the losses our children survived, suffocating losses - praying, hoping, begging God to heal our children and fulfill our dreams.
Now that our children are grown, Ray and I have time, space and perspective to consider the joys and the sufferings of our parenting years; joy wins hands down. But suffering’s on my mind these days. Not because I don’t have anything better to think about - but because it found me again…a diagnosis, crazy-mean people, and loss. I don’t like it; it makes me cranky, scared and I-want-to-throw-an-adult-tantrum- kind of mad. The only control I have over any of it is my attitude. And I’ve noticed my thoughts about suffering are different than God’s.
God: In this world you will have suffering.
Me: But I want comfort and control.
God: Suffering is part of my plan to prove the genuineness of your faith.
Me: But I don’t like that part.
God: I will never leave you; my grace is sufficient.
Me: But I want you to change things!
God: Don’t be afraid for what you are about to suffer.
Me: But I already am.
I don’t understand God’s ways. Unhealthy coping skills tempt me with counterfeit comfort. But I do trust God’s heart toward me – and He offers truth:
Suffering finds us. He may not change our circumstances. But God promises to go before us (to be in our tomorrows), to go with us (right now, through all of the hard stuff), and to never leave us.
Thank you, Jesus!