My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 2 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

God's Balance Sheet

Dustin and I have entered into that space in the adoption process* where, I'll say it as candidly as I can, all hell has broken loose. Literally. I know those who have been through it know exactly what I'm talking about. Stuff just starts to seemingly fall apart. Usually all at once.

All of life's difficulties before this season of life feel kind of like the trial runs that stunt men make before the big feat. You know? The ones where they test out the projection of the ramp and the velocity of speed required to prevent their absolute destruction. Yes, there's danger involved but it's less intense knowing there's a safety net available, a pit of foam waiting for them at the end. It's not quite the real deal.

Dustin and I have learned to relate on some level to Paul's expression of being "hard pressed". Since December 2006 my husband and I have been in some of the most trying times of our entire existence.Since then the gloves have come off of our enemy. It's as if God decided we'd had enough test runs. If I were to list all the trials we've faced I'm pretty confident you'd agree it's been, and continues to be, intense for us. Each individual trial has felt like a debit from our reserves of strength, a transaction which has us feeling weary. Added together I've lately begun to feel bankrupt. Truly broken.

The other day I sat down before the Lord with a pen and paper in hand to list the major life events we've faced on a day when yet another immense trial had risen up before us. As I wrote my list I grieved over the losses, the suffering, the heartbreak, and the pain we have experienced. But, I couldn't deny the HUGE blessings we had also received, and while I didn't enjoy the trials on my list I knew that I'd never want to trade the victories for a smooth path marked by the absence of God's miraculous provision in our lives.

Lately, I've gotten really intentional about studying and living out James Chapter 1. James is no joke. He doesn't ease us into anything... he hits us with truth right away. BAM!

"CONSIDER it pure joy..."

Finally, finally, this week I decided to get to work on engaging FULLY in the act of considering. As I worked at "considering" God showed me so much. He recalled to my mind some parables. The parable of the sower and the different types of soil, particularly vs.8 came to mind. Other seeds fell on good soil, and yielded grain--some a hundred times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some thirty. The parable of the talents also struck me as oddly being important to my work of "considering". (Hang with me here, I think this will make sense)

Our God is a God who loves increase. He's a God of fruitfulness. In my quiet time I was reminded that God, being eternal, has no end. Nor do His blessings and victories. Trials, while difficult, have and end! I desperately needed to be reminded of this truth as I faced another trial straw on top of my suffering donkey's back. I needed God to remind me that without trials I am immature and lacking all that He desires to give to me. So many times I have looked at God's blessings in my life as only those "good" and enjoyable things and called them fruit. It's been easy to talk about increase and fruitfulness when they came with interest on things that turned out "right". When I say "right" I mean things in this life that went the way I wanted them to or in a way that wasn't particularly painful to me.

It's been so much more difficult for the Lord to move me to include in my definition of fruitfulness and increase those blessings which come by walking through suffering with the Lord. It's been difficult to consider pure joy those things which likely will not be added to me this side of eternity. Things like death and the loss of loved ones, the injustice of corrupt people in the world, the suffering of innocents, abuse, illness, and on and on. It requires much faith for me to entrust these things to His care and to hold on until that Great Day.

What God reminded me of through Romans 8:28 is that we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. And again, that If God is for us, who can be against us? So if God is inspiring James to tell us to be joyful about our trials it's because we can KNOW that they truly are for our benefit. In God's economy everything is profit to His children who obey and trust Him. Blessings, victories AND even the trials we face equal a net positive to those who belong to Jesus Christ. This truth has made all the difference in the way I "consider" my trials. It somehow takes my focus off the current pain and difficulty and keeps me looking forward to the future!

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him

*I don't mean to say that things aren't going well with the process. Things are moving forward with the adoption and we are anxiously awaiting the day when A* comes home. I'm refering to the spiritual trials that often happen during an adoption.


E said...

Ha! Yes. When the you-know-what hits the fan, sometimes it means we're doing everything we should be...and *someone* isn't happy about it. Like you, I cling to God's promise in Romans 8:28! He makes Good!

Blessings to you guys throughout the rest of the process and in your everyday lives now & once A* gets home!

Much love,

Ray and Lisa said...

Thanks Jen, I needed that! I love your heart for God. Praying for continued strength and blessings in your journey to bring your son home.

Amber said...

Thanks for sharing your raw feelings.