Monday, March 26, 2012

An Easy Button

You've seen one of these contraptions, right?  You press the button and it says, "That was easy."

I was thinking today how nice it would be to have an easy button for any event or circumstance in my life.  Simply press the button and it's done.  Not only done, but done with very little effort or hard work on my part. 

Just easy.

Unfortunately, over the years, I've learned life does not work that way.  Not. At. All.

Most things, if done well and done correctly, are not easy.  As a matter of fact, they're just the opposite.  They're downright hard.  

It seems as if our family is entering the first "hard" phase of the adoption process.  The task of raising the necessary funds to be able to adopt.

We are planning our first fundraiser--a yard sale slated for next month.  With all the logistics, collections, and planning to be taken care of in such a short time, I find myself wishing for an easy button.  Like yesterday.  And boy, would I be pressing the mess out of it right now!

Last week I had an impromptu conversation with my friend concerning our present status with the adoption and I said to her, "I wish we had been more frugal in the past, saved a ton of money and had all we needed set aside to fund this adoption.  Or I wish someone really wealthy and generous would just write a check to fund the whole thing.  In either scenario, we could just be done with it."

My wise friend's response, "But that would have been too easy."  She was right.  And I knew it. 

It's in and through the very difficult, very hard circumstances in our lives where our faith has the chance to grow.  It's also where God works.  If we were capable of starting and completing this whole endeavor ourselves, then it would wind up being all about us and our abilities.  But because we can't, it's all about God and His power to do the impossible.  It's also about allowing others to participate in the process. 

Faith doesn't come easy either. 

My hunch is it wasn't too easy for Noah to continue to build the ark in the midst of constant ridicule and lack of knowledge.   But as Noah persisted in the hard work, his faith grew and he went down in history as a man who obeyed God, all because of his faith.

It also wasn't easy for Moses to keep the faith when he had to face Pharaoh and tell him to let God's people go.  But he trusted God even when returning to Egypt was extremely hard.

It couldn't have been easy for David to believe being king would actually happen, even after being anointed by Samuel. But David kept the faith and trusted even when the waiting was long and hard.

I'm sure these three biblical heroes would have loved an easy button.  Press and be done with it.

Easy buttons don't exist now and they certainly didn't back then.

And just like these three biblical heroes, sometimes it isn't easy for us to believe God can and will fulfill his seemingly impossible promises either, but we must trust Him.  We must believe.  We must have faith.  When it's hard.  Especially when it's hard.

"I am the LORD, the God of all mankind.
Is anything too hard for me?"
"Ah Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. 
Nothing is too hard for you." Jeremiah 32:27;17

What a relief to know the One I love, the One I trust, the One I follow doesn't need an easy button anyway. 

Nothing is too hard for Him.  Absolutely nothing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Risky Business

"Family freely assumes the risks..."

While reading and signing the 20-page contract sent from our adoption agency, I found myself zeroing in on one particular word in that phrase. 


The document stated that "international adoption is a complex process, often involving circumstances beyond the agency's control..."


Those things you spend your life trying to avoid because you know they could cause trouble or bring you unnecessary harm. 


Your lungs are at risk if you choose to smoke.

Overexposure to harmful UV rays increases your risk of developing skin cancer.

Not wearing a seat belt greatly increases the risk of being injured or killed in a car accident.

Investing all your money in the uncertain stock market could be a risk to your stable financial future.

If you use this particular medication, you are at risk for liver damage.

Danger:  Enter at your own risk.

risk - possibility of suffering harm or loss; potential peril; uncertain danger; presumed threat; chance of trouble

I admit my naivete.  I admit my lack of knowledge.  I admit I've thought adoption to be a lot of things.  But the word, "risk" had yet to cross my mind.  Until now.

I had to put the pen down.  I had to think, to really think over all of the possible risks the agency had just listed.  There were a lot.  A whole lot.  Including the whole darn thing following apart all together.

Bottom line:  there are no guarantees. 

Not one.  Not even after all our paperwork is completed and mailed off.  Not even after all our fundraising and payments are processed.  Not even after all our wanting and waiting. 

Adoption is a risky business. 

At the bottom of the last page were two lines marked with an "X". 

My line:
Prospective Mother's signature

My husband's line:
Prospective Father's signature

And above both lines, were these words,

"We have been informed...and freely accept the risks."

Do we?  Do we freely and fully accept the risks?

Both of us stopped.  We held hands and we prayed.  We sought guidance from the One who called us to this journey in the first place.  And in that holy moment, peace prevailed and we were reminded of these simple facts:

Driving a car is risky.
Buying a home is risky.
Starting a new job is risky.
Making new friends is risky.
Giving my heart to another is risky.
Saying "I do" is risky.
Carrying a baby for nine months is risky.
Being a parent is risky.
Stepping out in faith is risky.
Loving big is risky.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
~ Jim Elliot, missionary in Ecuador; lost his life by the Waodani tribe warriors

And yet even in the midst of all the possible risks, I rest in these constant certainties:
  • Jesus promised, "I am with you, always" (Matthew 28:20). 
  • He said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
  • He will remain faithful, even when I am faithless. (2 Timothy 2:13).

"If anyone comes after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?"
~ Jesus

All of life is risky business. Period.

But if I never take the risk, how will I ever know the reward?

So I pick up my pen and I sign on the line.  Freely assuming and accepting the risks.  Knowing full-well that adoption is a risky business and we are entering at our own risk.

"If you're not willing to give up everything, you've already lost."
~ film, Act of Valor

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