Tuesday, September 6: It was a regular day. We were in a friend’s living room, worshiping and praying with our small group community from church, just like we do every week.
Noland and I were getting ready to launch this big fund raising campaign the next day for our adoption, and I was feeling THE MOST vulnerable and exposed. We’d just been singing a song called “Nothing Shall Be Impossible,” the chorus boldly proclaiming:
Nothing shall be impossible for You
Nothing shall be impossible for us
For You made all things right upon the cross
Oh, the love of Jesus Christ
At the end of that song, we all just felt like we needed to stand in faith for one another in impossible places — ours obviously being the $15,000 we were trying to raise over the next 30 days.
As our friends gathered around to lay hands on us and pray over our next 30 days, one friend of ours boldly said, “Guys, tomorrow is September 7. I just feel like that’s significant… seven being the Biblical number of completion, and the day that God rested because His work was already done. I feel like tomorrow, God is completing what He’s already begun in your family. You can rest. It’s done.”
So the next day at noon, we launched this campaign. The goal was $15K in 30 days. Exactly seven hours later, at 7 pm, we’d reached our goal of $15K.
It was exactly as our friends had prayed the night before. It was exactly as God had spoken. Noland and I were undone. Many of you were a part of this sweet miracle, and I wish I could hug every single one of you for fighting for our family the way that you have. We laughed and cried and cheered and celebrated like crazy, that our God is faithful. That nothing shall be impossible for Him.
Yet when the cheers calm down, I hear the whisper of the accuser: “Why should this time be any different?”
We’ve been here before. In February of 2015, when we had put belief for family on the shelf until after our move to Utah, God placed this invitation on the table. A baby boy, growing inside of the womb of an addict, in need of someone to fight for him.
We were so certain that we had heard from God loud and clear. Our friends were having dreams and visions of us adopting this boy. Strangers were walking up to us at church and praying over our growing family. We felt so sure of what God was speaking over his life and his story. And then in an instant, he was gone.
About three years ago, we had just begun trying to get pregnant. It had been a few months, and I was starting to wonder if this was going to be a long and daunting journey for us. We hadn’t told anyone we were trying yet. I felt discouraged and alone, unsure of how to walk out such a tender and uncertain thing.
We were at a worship night at church, and a girl I hardly knew walked up and asked if she could pray for me. She said she didn’t know what kind of impossible thing I was facing, but she felt led to come pray over whatever it was. As she prayed over me, she said, “I just want to submit this to you… I feel like I’m supposed to tell you ‘three years.’”
Immediately I was a little bit mad about that. It had only been like three months, and three years felt like an eternity. For years after that, I held that word really loosely, unsure of what to make of such a specific prophetic word about such a tender thing.
We had started believing God for a family on July 1, 2013. I remember the date because it was the day after our anniversary. On July 2, 2016, I stood in a hotel room in Berlin, staring in shock and disbelief at a positive pregnancy test.
It was exactly as God said. We couldn’t believe it. I’ll never forget running down the street to a dear friend’s apartment, laughing and crying and praying together as we praised God for such a sweet miracle gift.
And then a month later, I felt my heart sink and a lump swell in my throat when the doctor couldn’t find a heart beat. Five days after that, I miscarried that little miracle gift.
How do you make sense of that kind of suffering? That kind of confusion? When you had an undeniable encounter with God, knowing He was at work, and then it just ends in death?
And how do you believe that the next one won’t end the same way?
Over Labor Day weekend, we had our discipleship school retreat, and one night as my friend Codi spoke on being ‘Faithful in the Little’ he said something that has been ringing in my ears ever since: “Would it have still been worth it if David never became king?”
He was talking about an area of his own life where he’d been working through disappointment with God, and He kept feeling like God was asking him that question. Over several months, he said he wrestled with that question, wondering what he was supposed to make of it.
Would it have still been worth it if David had never become king? If the anointing happened but the appointing never did — if he had just spent those years as a shepherd, falling deeply in love with his God, understanding and becoming a man after our Shepherd’s heart.
Would it have been worth it?
I started thinking about my life, and about all the promises I know God has spoken over our family, and I asked myself, “Would all of this be worth it, even if we never become parents on this side of Heaven?”
That is a sobering question to reconcile in your heart. But you know what I’ve learned about suffering? My suffering is not a thing that God assigned to me to teach me a lesson. My suffering is a thing God entrusted to me to draw me and others closer to Him.
Authority is a costly thing, and it is forged in the kind of fire that only leaves you with one companion: Jesus.
And yes. Of course He’s worth it.
Does that mean I stop believing for our promise fulfilled on this side of Heaven, though? Absolutely not. I have resolved two things in my heart that I will not allow:
- I will not turn my back on the only One who’s walked with me through the fire, regardless of whether or not I ever get “what I want” on this side of eternity.
- I will not allow fear to steal my hope and faith in what my God is capable of.
This is important, though: If I miss the fact that Jesus is worth my suffering, then those two “I won’t” statements are just me being a strong-willed middle child who refuses to lose. But if I’m anchored in the reality that my prize on this side of Heaven is the promise of His presence, then those two statements are a declaration of the intimacy with Him that I am unwilling to forfeit because of my pain and disappointment.
So there’s my challenge for all of us, I guess. Are you willing to go there and reconcile in your heart that whatever your “David anointed as king” promise is will still be worth it, even if you never see it fulfilled?
Or put more bluntly: is the promise of Emmanuel, God with us, enough?