|We might have pitched a fit about having to eat breakfast instead of playing with cars a few minutes before this was taken. Possibly.|
The night before I had gone on a date with my oh-so studly husband to see the "Hobbit" and then came home and spent a couple hours reading through a "Waiting Child" list. I was excited about today, celebrating Rivers Day. The day Isaiah was declared officially a Rivers, forever. December 15th is quite the holiday around here. I was in such a good mood that I was even looking at 4-child sibling groups and sincerely thinking that maybe maybe I wouldn't lose my mind if those were OUR girls. (our visa here prevents us from adopting overseas at the moment...so, fine, maybe my consideration wasn't THAT sincere...)
My head hit the pillow full of hopes and joy.
Then the morning rain clouds filled me right on up with hot heaping mess of despair. "Why is it that the world is so full of crap?!" "Why do men lose their minds and do terrible things?"
Even the sweet faces I had looked at just a few (very few) hours before changed from hope to criticism when I thought of the 20 parents who will be grieving the lives of their children from today until forever. "Why is it that there are four incredibly beautiful sisters up for adoption?" "Even if they're adopted, the years the world and the ugliness therein has unleashed upon them will stay with them, especially the oldest ones, possibly causing irrevocable damage to their lives forever!"
That's a whole lotta awful before breakfast.
Not sure if you've ever read the verse in the book of Ephesians that says,
"When you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it."
Sealed. Sealed ever so tightly, strongly, and forever with the Spirit of God. The Spirit who Jesus said would be our Comforter.
And boy did he bring on the comfort today.
I broke out the "Special Rivers of the Day" plate (its inaugural use since being painted in America a few weeks ago) and my baby boy smiled the biggest smile when his hard boiled egg was put on that special piece of ceramic.
And mama was there ever joy and comfort in that moment!
The Comforter spoke to my heart right then, right there and here's what he reminded me of:
ALL sin- the "big" ones like the shooting and child slaves in Africa- and the "little" ones- like lying to get out of something or being jealous of something someone else has- ALL sin is wrong.
When God created the world, he intended to be near us, with us. He would walk with us, his glory bright, us knowing him, enjoying him forever. But sin- a "little" one mind you of touching a tree and eating fruit!- entered the world and the sweet time with God was broken.
Our sin, our imperfection could no longer be in the presence of such glory and it has been causing one big ruckus after another since.
So if God is so loving, why is there such sadness in the world?
The answer is long so I won't go into full detail. But...BUT...the answer is much more easily understood when each of us stops looking at the world around us, takes a minute, and examines our own lives. The "little" wrongs we've done. No more wrong than eating fruit from a tree that was forbidden, is it? It still means we are just as separated from God, just as unable to be in his presence.
So why does he let suffering happen if he's so loving? Because he's also perfectly gracious and perfectly mercy-giving. If he sent a lightning bolt to kill the crazy man who shot all those kids because he had violated the perfect law- the justice system- of God... then that lie I told would get a lightning bolt too, because guilty is guilty. Imperfection is imperfection. He allows sin and suffering in the world because he is ALSO withholding his wrath and judgement and giving us time to come to him and accept the way...the only way... to undo all the wrongs we've done. Even the little ones.
And lightning bolts are what we've earned. Oh yes! Our view of God needs to be widened to think deeply and widely about just how awesome and glorious pure holiness and glory really is. When we try and contemplate the awesome weight of his glory, falling short of that becomes a bigger deal.
And if death is what we've earned ourselves- if that's the price a perfect justice system demands- then the only way out of it is if someone takes your place. And Jesus did just that. He took all the sin...the murders and the eating forbidden things, the genocide, and the petty theft, the lust...he stepped up to the plate and took it for us. Separation from God. He endured his wrath. But then, because Jesus had done no wrong, death could not hold him. His perfection and holiness was stronger than death! He came back to life and is still alive today.
That last paragraph is the chance he's giving you in the midst of evil and suffering. He is offering his great salvation. The plan he made to save us from all the mess we do to ourselves and to each other. He's withholding that awful judgement that we deserve and asking for us to trust him, believe on him and his substitution. THAT is good news! Hope like that is a game changer. (I'm sorry it takes me so long to type all this out...it only took about 30 seconds for all these promises to run through my head and for my despair to turn to joy in hope!)
And so with that hope in mind we celebrated the rest of Rivers Day. To see a tangible example of redemption sitting there making a total mess of a hard boiled egg only solidified the promises I had just been comforted with. His adoption was finalized. Forever mine. My redemption finalized, sealed, forever. Surely, surely something as miraculous as this sweet boy being my son, means there's hope for this ol' world afterall!
"For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world, through him, might be saved." John 3:17
|I know I know, this is supposed to be an Isaiah picture...I can't help myself!|