"I know we're all sinners," she said, "but I'm especially wicked."
I've been reliving that moment I shared with my dear friend since she spoke those words months ago. She examines her inner black with a crinkled nose and tears and I know she lives deep in His clutches. For I know, in the mysterious ways of heaven, holiness begins when we find ourselves filthy and in the dark. And as we continue to talk about God's light and our adoption journeys, I start to feel the strange sensation of antiseptic, like we're swimming in salt.
Adoption, especially foster to adoption, is an ocean. It is an overwhelming, vast, stormy, Red Sea of salty sanctification. We stand at the shore where God called us with the world and our doubt bearing down and become disappointed that it's taking so long for the dry ground to appear. Our flesh cries out for miraculous signs and wonders. We forget that Moses didn't begin as the great Jewish leader. He began as an Egyptian, drenched in the culture of heathens, especially wicked. And even after God gave him the staff, the leader of God's chosen people was fearful and frail in faith. Its funny how we haven't changed much. His story still an ancient picture of ourselves.
The Bible tells us, "God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." And Christians often cling to this verse for comfort and sustaining encouragement, but we forget to see this humbling truth from the other side. Yes, all our trials, all our stumbling blocks and disappointments will be weaved into a beautiful God glorifying work for our good. But within that luminous promise, lies the salt. We are also being worked out for the good of the others who are called according to His purpose. Perhaps our heartache is the good work. Maybe that is the sign and wonder. It is both the drowning of our Egyptian roots and our deliverance. Only an almighty God could use the especially wicked for any good work. Only my God could use me for any good end. Oh that we could pray to be pursued to the bottom of the sea with wall of salt on our right and left and the world at our back.
We have been called to look after the orphans, to receive children as we would the Father, to be doers. In fact, we are commanded to be fruitful and multiply. Yet we pray, "Lord please show us if this is the baby you want us to love. "Lord please don't let me be cheated." "Lord please spare my heart." We too dare to approach God with doubt. And though he burns in anger against our young Moses ideas, His grace still promises a good plan. He still uses us. Maybe the heartache of adoption is the Romans 8 promise for our individual exodus, conforming us to the likeness of His Son. As we sacrifice and ache for the life of another woman's baby the good work of heaven is being worked out. The Lord in his Grace frees us, slaves to sin and especially wicked, to bless others.
There is dry ground under the salty sea. We need not be afraid, but "stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today."