This feels really crazy.
Then again, getting rid of our stuff was crazy. Moving to Central America was crazy. Selling our “rainy day” house was crazy.
So crazy started awhile back for us.
But this… this flying to the middle of Ohio, of all places (sorry if you’re from there, but it just sounds so flat, and so far from the ocean, and well, so flat), to drive around and tell our story to nine different groups of people in the hopes they will join us in supporting adopting families… this seems just way crazier than anything we’ve tried yet.
And yet here I sit, halfway to crazy, traveling from Maine to Ohio (which somehow is via Atlanta, but only in the Delta universe), trying to wrap my head around how we got to this point. (We are tentmakers to avoid this whole fundraising thing, after all.)
Today begins ten days of visiting cities like Indianapolis, Dayton, Akron, and Cleveland. Ten days of pouring my heart out to see if this vision for adoption care God’s given us might be even the slightest bit contagious.
Ten days away from my family… the longest ever.
I don’t know how anyone who doesn’t believe in God can call all that’s happened coincidence. Or maybe karma? None of that makes any sense to me. All I know is that so much of what has seemed messed up to this point now fits right into place. I guess it’s that whole couldn’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees concept.
When we’re in the thick of whatever, everything feels off kilter. And so often, that questioning gives birth to a little something called doubt. And the doubt leads to worry (or maybe vice versa) and it all ends up making the crazy out to be a bad thing, when it might just be amazing.
In the doubting, in the mess, there’s a portion of an old Bible story I need to focus on. If you know the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (or Rack, Shack, and Benny for the Veggie Tales fans), you might recall the moment where King Nebuchadnezzar decides to put the three Jews into a burning furnace because they won’t bow down and worship his golden image.
The Jews knew God had commanded them never to put anyone else before Him. They decided to follow God even though it might lead them outside of their comfort zone and into the fire, quite literally. I can imagine that while they held fast to the truth they had been given, they — being human — must have felt a bit crazy, perhaps even worried about their fate.
This is why I love verses 17 and 18 (in Daniel 3):
17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.
They told the King that our God most definitely can save them from whatever fire they might find themselves in. Of course He can. He is the Creator of the universe, after all. It reminds me of the little kid on the playground fearfully staring up at the bully in front of him, saying, “My big brother can kick your tail! And he will, too! (Just as soon as he gets here.)”
This is the Jews saying our God can save us from this fire, but even if He doesn’t… even if He chooses to do something that doesn’t make sense to us, or doesn’t fit into our plan, He is still God. And we still love Him.
It’s the knowledge that our God can absolutely fix whatever mess we encounter (whether it’s death in a furnace, or something not quite as fiery) that gives us hope. And it is the “but if not” from verse 18 that shows our faith.
The second part of this statement to the king is not an excuse for a God who doesn’t show up, but rather a confidence in the greater plan, whatever it may be.
I am trying to raise five thousand dollars a month to run a guesthouse in Nicaragua where adopting families can stay free of charge. In essence, I’m traipsing all over the flat part of the country to ask for money that will benefit other people, people I don’t even know!
[I think what’s crazier is that these families are leaving their comfort zone to adopt a child, at great physical and emotional expense, without any sort of support during their time outside of the US, but that’s another post.]
Time to repeat those verses, with my own paraphrase:
“God, I know you got this. Of course you do. If it is your will, I pray you would ______________. But if you don’t… even if you don’t… I love you. I trust in your plan, your ways, and your timing. And I will continue to serve you.”
For me, these next ten days (and beyond!), this blank gets filled with: fund this adoption care ministry.
It’s not exactly a fiery furnace, but it is what I’m up against right now.
How do you fill in that blank?