Perseverance… beyond the hopeless

Ever had one of those days/weeks/months/years when you just want to give up because the path to where you thought you were going just doesn’t seem passable?

Maybe the class was too difficult,
the schedule, too long…
the project, too involved…
the scoreboard, too discouraging…
the relationship, too painful…
the endeavor, too hopeless…

It seems hopeless // Image courtesy of Wally Gobetz @flikr

I’ve noticed that each adopting family, and our entire adoption care ministry, experiences a lot (no seriously: a. lot.) of opportunities to practice perseverance.

The process often feels too difficult,
too long,
too involved,
too discouraging,
too painful,
and too hopeless.

But when God calls you to something, giving up is never the answer.
And neither is digging in your heels when the Spirit is moving you.

As I look back on the past four years, which were filled with starts and stops in a variety of different cities across two different countries, there were plenty of discouraging, painful, and seemingly hopeless crossroads. Perseverance? Sure, but in which direction?

There was one particular night when my husband and I realized we faced an especially challenging fork-in-the-road. What was best for our child seemed to completely contradict what we felt God had called us to. We struggled through the competing thoughts: Do we “give up” this ministry we only really just started, after going through so much to get here? Or do we “give up” what our child wants, believing that she will understand one day?

Loss loomed around both corners.

What if… where we see two paths that lead in completely opposite directions, with equally negative consequences, the One who created it all sees something different altogether?

21 Do you not know? Do you not hear?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
    and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
    and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
23 who brings princes to nothing,
    and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.

These passages from Isaiah (from the ESV) give us a much grander view of those decisions we face. We can barely see around one side of the huge obstacle splitting our paths, but God sees over those tiny ant hills and all the way to where our divergent paths join back together again.

It's never truly hopeless // Image courtesy of Cassandra Jowett @flikr

Sometimes, as we wait on him, and expect his direction, we sense him moving us onto new paths and into new seasons. He knows which ways offer the best chance for our growth and his glory, and he gently nudges us on. Verse 11 gives a beautiful picture of how this plays out:

He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead those that are with young.

We stand at the crossroads, facing challenges on all sides, and struggle to persevere. His leading often sends us down paths we wouldn’t choose, if left to our own devices. They look too difficult,
too too long,
too involved,
too discouraging,
too painful,
and too hopeless.

But when we follow him and (eventually) make it out from around those obstacles, through to a season of rest and renewal? That’s when we say, “Whew! That was a close one. I can’t believe I almost missed out on this entirely!”

 


If a family is willing to forever love an orphan, then shouldn't we — His hands and feet — do whatever we can to walk beside them through the process?

Those families called specifically to international adoption are facing obstacles that seem to loom large than ever. Political tensions, economic pressures, and unethical practices are increasing wait times and, in some cases, preventing orphans from ever finding the love and safety of a family. And the trauma their children have faced leads to months and years of painful recovery. It can all feel entirely hopeless… but it’s not.

If you aren’t personally called to adopt, join me in doing whatever we can — physically, emotionally, and spiritually — to shine a light on the ways around the obstacles and to be the hands and feet of Christ to support those who are. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Get educated.
  • Give of your time and/or resources.
    • Join our FIT Nicaragua support team.
    • Contribute to the adoption funds for specific adopting families. Go ahead… buy that adoption t-shirt you saw posted on Facebook. Or buy a spot on your friend’s adoption puzzle map. Or contribute to a larger group adoption fund. You’re making an investment into the life of a child, and that’s something to never give up on.
    • Shower an adopting family in your church or community with love and encouragement.
  • Pray.
    • For the families who are waiting, that they would persevere beyond the hopeless and rest in God’s perfect guidance and leading.
    • For the children, all over the world, who just want parents to call their own.
    • For more families to answer the call to adopt.
    • For the orphan care workers serving children who aren’t yet in families.
    • For the adoption process, that it would be ethical and swift.