The following is a post from my friend and pastor Jeff Hogan’s blog Convergence from August 17, 2007:
I really don’t have to explain suffering, do I? As soon as I said that word you probably filled in the blanks with your own story of pain, custom fit just for your life. Pain doesn’t care how old we are, or how much money we make, or what kind of car we drive- it sinks its teeth into all of us.
It’s in the sound of the doctor’s voice, saying those words we never wanted to hear.
It’s watching as your Mom and Dad’s marriage falls apart.
It’s in the helplessness of seeing a child slipping away.
It’s hearing the words “I don’t love you anymore.”
These things stack up inside us, and they can make us skeptical to the 2000 year old words of Paul in Romans 8:18 when he says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
That’s a pretty big statement. If it wasn’t in the Bible, it might sound like a bunch of hooey.
Actually, depending on what you’re going through right now, it might sound like a bunch of hooey anyway.
At any rate, it makes me think about something that happened a while back.
I eat breakfast every Wednesday with a couple of guys. We usually talk about a book that we’re all reading, but a couple of weeks ago, we just talked about Rose. This wasn’t too hard- Mark had 3 entire albums full of their latest pictures of her.
The photos were from a trip that Mark and his wife Kim had recently taken to Haiti, to spend some more time with their little girl. They knew they wouldn’t be able to take Rose home- but that wasn’t really the point.
Mark and Kim love Rose. She isn’t some abstract concept, like “the orphans of Haiti,” or a name on a support card. She is their daughter. She just doesn’t live with them yet.
Adopting a child from Haiti is a long, expensive process and you have to jump through a lot of hoops. Every day that Mark and Kim spend without Rose is painful. But they continue to hope, and that hope is based in a quiet, confident expectation that it WILL happen. Nothing that Mark and Kim endure today will compare with the day when the adoption is complete and they get to take Rose home.
Do you think that God is any different? Is it any wonder that Paul can say that nothing we endure today is worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us? The hope that he is saying we can have is that same confident expectation that Mark and Kim have about Rose’s adoption. It will happen.
“Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” -Romans 8:23-25
I think that dealing with suffering is infinitely harder when you question if you really matter, and if there’s anything to believe in; to hope for.
The Creator, God of the universe answers both of those questions. He tells us, “You can believe in Me. I didn’t have a beginning, I won’t have an end, and I don’t change. I will be solid for you to hang on to, and I will never leave you, or forsake you.”
But He’s also saying, “I believe in you!” “You matter to Me, and I want you as my daughter; as my son.”
If we accept that adoption, then we HAVE to accept the truth that God wants us!
Nothing we endure today will compare with the day when our adoption is complete.
And that’s not hooey.
In Him We Live,
p.s.- Thanks Mark, for letting me tell your amazing story.
UPDATE: Two and a half years later, Rose is still in Haiti with her sister and two brothers waiting to be adopted by Mark and Kim.
And here’s the last update from Jeff:
Kim is in Haiti at the orphanage with the kids- they are all safe for the time being. Though he was still waiting for word directly from her today, the last update I’ve seen on Mark’s facebook is, “I heard through Vicki & Dave Warner (Kim’s boss) that Kim is doing well and is very, very, very happy to be with all the kids at Lashbrook Family Ministries – Haiti in Port de Paix.” The plan was for Kim to stay and help at the orphanage while Mark continued his fight stateside to secure humanitarian visa’s for all four children. Kim told him, “I don’t want to come home without our kids.”
This adoption process has been long journey and just because Kim is with the children now, it doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. Would you please continue to pray for this family and others who just want to bring their kids home to a loving family? I know they would greatly appreciate it.