Okay, so maybe it’s being married to a pastor, or maybe it’s having a graduate degree in religion, but more likely it’s just the fact that I love Jesus and that He loves me that makes me see God in every tiny crack of this crazy process. Typing up these last two posts today (yes – I love pencil and paper so very much I have to write things down first, which I did last night) reminded me how I wanted to remember forever what God taught me about his single-focused love, and about the gift of hope. I’m going to share it here so I can look back and read it one day down the road when things are not as easy, so forgive me in advance for rambling on :-).
As we loved on Sergey for a month and put all else aside, I was continually reminded of how Jesus loves us in the same way. He is not busy grocery shopping or vacuuming. He doesn’t mind joining in the ridiculous things we do. He doesn’t sit back and say “That’s dumb. Why are you doing that? I don’t want to be with you if you want to ride a scooter down the aisles at Walmart at midnight.” Instead, he is right there with us, loving us insanely, dousing us in the firehose. Matthew 7:9-11 says: “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” If even I (selfish, self-focused, moody, spoiled me) can love someone that intensely and intentionally, how much more – bajillion times more – can my Father in heaven love me? To be very honest, this is one of my biggest struggles as a Christian, to truly believe – believe in my heart and not just in my head – that Jesus loves me. So this whole experience of loving this boy is such a gift – a daily reminder that Jesus loves me. Me. And you.
Man I talk a lot. Sorry. The second blog post above, about hope, also points me to my Father’s love, in blessing us with hope in the midst of pain. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” There are things that happen in this world that should not be. Should. Not. I can’t watch the news and honestly (not proud of this) I try to block out much of the suffering that I know is out there. But I am not always successful, of course, because there are so many people I love and so many, many, MANY hard things happen. Sometimes it is so overwhelming to me I feel like I can’t go on. I feel like the character in “The Secret Life of Bees” who was unable to handle sadness. And I just want to run away screaming. But that wouldn’t make it go away. Sometimes there are moments (quick ones) where I wonder what it would have been like if Sergey had never come into our lives, how it would feel to not have this constant aching, constant emptiness, constant longing deep within me. But even if we never knew him, he would still be an orphan. He would still be without a family to love him and he would be headed out on the streets in a year. We can’t escape suffering. We can’t run away from pain, not if we have let another human being into our hearts, and I have LOTS of you inside mine. So what do we do. I have no deep answers to give you about the meaning of suffering (you’ll have to ask Clint about that :-), but I will say that this experience has taught me the essential nature of hope, of knowing that in the future things will be made right. On this earth and in this life, that future hope will never be realized perfectly. We are fully aware that there will be hard things down the road for Sergey and for us as we try to heal together from all the pain he has lived through for so many years. Hard. With a capital H. But one day in the future it will ALL be perfect. No more goodbyes. No more orphans. No more death. Or sadness. Or tears. Come Lord Jesus.