The last few weeks have been dominated by prayer, by hopes and imaginings, by trying not to hope, by a cycle of peace and anxiety that has taken us round and round.
Monday morning we had an interview for the possible adoption of a little boy. By Monday evening we found out one of the other four families was chosen. It was an emotionally intense day. Days later we are still processing it all.
For just over a month we had been waiting and praying about the outcome, having been caught off guard by the opportunity to submit our homestudy for a 10-month-old boy. From the moment we received the call about this case God used it to stretch us and challenge our expectations, but it also birthed the thoughts of a possible reality--one that brought the desired conclusion to our adoption process and a child into our home.
Even as our hearts were being secretly attached to this child we knew only on paper, we put up guards against possible disappointment and pain. We tried not to think too much about it. We asked close family and friends to pray and then attempted to dispassionately wait and pray. The irony is that you cannot pray for something so intensely and remain dispassionate, even when your prayer is "Thy will be done."
Anxiety would creep in. We battled it back with the knowledge of God's sovereignty. Then anxiety would creep back in. But, for me, the miracle was that the more we prayed for the situation and the more our hearts got attached to the idea of a future with this little boy, the deeper the sense of peace we felt that God would carry us through, whatever the outcome.
By Monday morning Andrew and I and the whole process had been bathed in continual prayer from family and friends all over the country. The prayer was for God's will to be done and for our peace through promises like the one found in Isaiah 26:3: "You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You." We are so grateful for our Christian family--they have wrestled for our peace. Their toil has been our gain.
Receiving the call that we were not the family chosen was hard. A child we were invested in is to be a permanent part of a stranger's family. And maybe even more disappointing is the knowledge that we have not found the child intended for us and that we will have to face this situation again, and maybe again.
But, something I realized through this process is that I used to think that praying for God's will to be done meant I shouldn't invest in one side of the issue or the other. Somehow I thought maybe to really mean that prayer I had to feel ambivalent. But what really was going on was that I wanted to protect myself from feeling the disappointment that would come if the result wasn't what I had hoped for. Or maybe I thought God would think I was taking back my prayer when I was grieved by the outcome.
However, when God answers our prayers for His will to be done with the answer our human hearts had not hoped for, He does not disapprove of our disappointment or heartache. He does not ask for an impartial trust. What He asks for is a trust that even if..., we will trust Him to carry us through the sorrow, through the confusion, and through the uncertain road before us. This peace runs deeper than the anxiety or sorrow we are sure to experience. It is resting in the knowledge of a good God whose timing is perfect and who holds the world and our hearts in His capable hands. It is knowing that He will answer saints' prayers for His will to be done and that He is near enough to comfort us in the wake of His hand.
God has given Andrew and I peace. We are still processing our disappointments, but we are certain that God is faithful and that He will continue to provide for us in ways we could not ask for or imagine. Thank you for those of you who have prayed for our peace...God does answer prayer.