I wanted to reflect something amazing.
I wanted to live something noble.
I wanted the Divine to invade in such a way that we all stood in awe of His glory.
But then the kids got up whining.
They fought through breakfast and one wiped his snotty nose on the couch and we stumbled out the door late and I had to take Little Bit to the doctor.
It was rush hour as we literally squished ourselves onto a subway that was packed like sardines with people who had bad breath and B.O.
Once we arrived at the hospital to have blood drawn, we entered this open-air hall crowded with nearly a thousand people—all of them there to have blood drawn.
It was hot and stuffy and there were no chairs and the wait was long. That ache for glory, for something noble and worthy, it seemed to slip away, further and further beyond reach.
I could feel the slipping, the slow death, the faith and hope being wrung right out of me by a thief I couldn’t even see.
And I wondered what a person is to do when life has starved her of what really matters. How does she regain faith when it’s been lost? How does a hope-deprived heart regain its health? How does a perishing woman apprehend her lifeline, that glimpse of Glory, before it’s too late?
I’m standing in that huge outdoor hall, waiting our turn for the needle, when the woman beside me asks about my Little Bit. “Her parents didn’t want her?” she asks. “Was she abandoned?”
I wince at such a cruel question, like I’d been elbowed in the gut. Because I am her mother. We are her parents. But it was asked in ignorance, so I overlook the words and speak to the heart of this woman. “My Little Bit was left in a cardboard box the day she was born. But we are her family now.”
We chat a few minutes more. I want it to be enough. I want to go back to just waiting, go back to being numb. I want to retreat into my shell of no-risk living. Hoping for Glory is just too painful. It makes the heart ache.
I know this is an opportunity for me to share the good news of Jesus. On the one hand, I want to hope for Glory. I want to live the Christ-life. On the other, I just feel so tired. I’ve done this so many times before; it all seems canned, mechanical—so futile. But there’s the prompting inside, that internal force, the tidal wave of hope, as if He’s laid His hand on me and I cannot help but speak up.
So I do.
I can’t say that my heart is totally in it. I’m not full of faith that something miraculous will happen as I open my mouth. I just, simply, begin.
“I’m a Christian,” I tell her. “We adopted because adoption is what God does for us. He brings us who are without hope into His family.”
And no sooner do the words leave my mouth than the lady beside me flails her arms and reaches for her purse. She’s a crazy woman, digging deep in the bowels of her bag. She comes up with a pack of tissues just in time. She bursts into tears.
“I’m a Christian, too,” she sputters, dabbing madly at her eyes. “Just haven’t been to church in a very long time.”
I’m shocked. You don’t meet Christians like this here. Not in this country—not in a hot, crowded, smelly hall-way where you are just one anonymous person. I voice a few more words, awkward and tentative. I don’t know where to go with this. I’m listening for His prompting to direct my words, guide my speech.
The life of Christ fills me then and I do know. I know why we’re here, why years ago we left father and mother on the other side of the world. I know why we squeezed into a subway that morning and stood lost in a crowd of a thousand. I know. It’s so we could stand next to this one woman and be the Father’s voice—her Father’s voice—to her. “You are very special,” I tell her. And I’m really just relaying a message from our Daddy.
“There is something He wants you to do, some way you can serve, and no one else can do it. He’s prepared you for it and He’s given you this ministry. You are tailor-made for this job.”
Tears are dripping down her cheeks and her heart is soaking up words that are not mine. We are two crazy ladies crying in public. Everyone around us stares and I’ve a mind to let them in on the joyous secret: God draws lambs into His fold. He restores hope to His people.
God searches us and knows us, according to Psalm 139:1. But His understanding of us is not just accidental, not just because He is all-knowing. It’s not simply because it comes with the territory of being God. No, His understanding of us comes with intent, with deliberation, with a razor sharp aim to draw us into His arms and woo us with His love.
He sees us from afar; in other words, He sees us in advance. He knows where we are headed before we ever get there. He does for us what He did for Martha- He arranges events for us to know He’s in control and has us covered.
He knows how to redeem you.
And He leaves the ninety and nine safe in the fold to pursue the one. You.
At the strangest of times, like in the midst of a very ordinary day when your kid smears snot on the sofa and you feel your inadequacies and you stand next to someone with body odor, you can know that in spite of everything that’s wrong with you, God has seen you and known you and gone out of His way to let you know it.
You can know He is working redemption through the small in your life. And that makes everything big.
**Edited excerpt from Trust Without Borders
1. The Bread: Read John 21:1-14
2. The Devo: Read Day 38 in Trust Without Borders
3. The Plunge: God knows how to redeem you. Isn’t that a praise-worthy thought? For today’s plunge, I’d like you to spend some time before the Lord with all the inner frets and frustrations you carry. Pray Psalm 139:1-4 back to the Lord, trusting that He has searched you and known you and has pursued you with a redemptive intent.
He knows what He’s doing.
Trust Him with those frets and frustrations today, and I’ll see you tomorrow!