To be totally honest with you, these past few months have been a tough transition for us as a family, first there was the pain of no longer being able to be with the kids in the Drawn From Water orphanage, and the emotions that naturally come along with having to let go of the relationships we had build with thirty beautiful, innocent kids, and then from there to immediately enter the season of finding what it was that we would be doing next as a family. It was tough. Looking back today it looks a lot like the perfect storm of emotions; painful loss followed up with confusion and on top of that not really feeling like anywhere was home any more. We began to tackle the simple question.
“Who are we?”
We asked again and again as processed these changes that we faced in our lives. The answer we would later learn was more about what question we should have been asking instead.
This past week when Jessie offered me the luxury of spending a few nights alone in a friends cabin in the woods, I felt such intense love I felt for her when she offered me this, that I would have married her again right there all over again. Jessie knows me well and she could tell that everything was weighing heavy on my heart and she knew a few days alone was just what I needed. (She seems to have a knack for that sort of intuition) Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to be in the quiet and all alone for a few days and headed out the first chance I got. I hardly stopped long enough to say goodbye, I hurried out the door so quickly.
After getting to the cabin and feeling the quietness wash over me like a loud thunder, I realized that I had not even had a chance to process my own emotions, I was starting to feel more like I was living the life of someone else, than my own life. I was going through the motions, but what I had failed to do was completely process the things that did happen and understand where God had been in the middle of it all.
The one thing that we did know was that Jessie and I were called to go back to Ethiopia as a family, that part we still now feel is clear as day. Yet as I sat alone in the quietness, listening to the trees rustle in the breeze, a new emotion came up, one that I was not even expecting at all.
I started to realize that in a way I was angry at God for the way things had happened. I felt a lot like that guy in the book ‘The Shack’ who goes into the mountain to be with God and contrary to what he was looking for he was instead offered the opportunity to sit in the Judgement seat himself and judge God for the things he had done. I realized that instead of looking to God for direction I was looking to him with wary and untrusting eyes. I thought that the things he had allowed to happen were cruel, not just for our family, but for the kids that we had come to know so well.
I sat there on the floor in the dark room, listening to the overwhelming quietness and allowed God to begin peeling the scales off of my body, the scales that I had built up over time to shield my heart and I began to face the hard question that none of us ever wants to ask ourselves. “What makes me think I can judge God?”
It was not until I faced the reality that I cannot Judge him, and allowed God to be once again the Sovereign Lord that he wants to be in my life that I was able to start moving ahead and working through the next steps that he had for me.
Have you ever been in one of those places before in your life, a place where there is a wall blocking your view, your path forward, but you do not even know its there? That is where I found myself, and as soon as God started to help me break through the wall I could see the sun shining and feel its unfamiliar warmth once again. From there, thankful for his grace and renewed in the sense that he loves his people with an intense love that can be found nowhere else, I could hardly find enough paper to fill the flood of new ideas and feelings I was having.
I could see once again just why it was that any of us might want to help another on this earth; the orphans, the widows, the hungry, they are Jesus. And even though it may not all work out just how we want it to, we still want to move forward, to help another, to find Jesus in the poor and sick and hungry, and to help them in any way that we can.
I’m telling you the sovereign truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me-you did it to me.
For my family finding the answer to the question “Who are we?” was a process of learning that the question we were asking was fundamentally wrong, the question we should have been asking is;
“Who is He?”
After you find the right question, the rest falls into place with a newfound clarity, sort of like finding all the edge peaces in the puzzle and getting them all put together, yes there is more to the puzzle and you need to work at it, but isn’t it all so much easier with those edge pieces in place?
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.