Monday, September 25, 2006

Real Peace

I had heard the late James Boice, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church,
preach a few times, but it was a newsletter column he wrote shortly
before his death that had the greatest influence on me. You could
forgive the man if, at the end of a productive but relatively short
life, he was upset that God didn't give him more time to do good.

In fact, he wrote eloquently and passionately about the perfectness of
God's plans: "Even if we could go back in time and change something,
we wouldn't; even if we had the authority over things we don't
currently have the authority over to change something, we wouldn't --
because by doing so we would make things worse."

In other words, God knows best. And you could tell Pastor Boice had
wrestled with this as lay dying, and had arrived at a place of peace
that indeed, that great truth was true. It allowed him to die well,
just as it had allowed him to live well. And so I am striving to
reach that same peace in my life.

In particular, as Amy and I slog through the legal and logistical
challenges of adopting more children into our family, we are faced
with a very real sense of human limitedness. Of course, there is the
limitedness of not being able to have children biologically. There is
also the sense of powerlessness over bureacracies, both here and
abroad. We also imagine that the next child we welcome into our
family is already alive, somewhere in the world, perhaps still in the
womb, and we can do nothing about how that child -- our child -- is
being taken care of, in terms of the mother's diet and wellbeing.

You could go crazy thinking this through too much. Or you can stand
in awe of a God who can and does create, who can and does knit little
children in the womb, who can and does orchestrate the 1001 things
that need to happen between the time that child is conceived to the
time he or she is welcomed into our lives. And you can believe in
this God, that He knows the who's and when's that will bring Him the
most glory in the building of our family. And if you do believe, then
you can have that peace.

I have been experiencing a measure of that peace lately. I have Amy
to thank for much of it, for her faith sharpens mine. She told me
last night that she didn't get the sense that God's abundant blessing
through Jada was our "one shot," but rather that He would be equally
if not more abundant to us again. Her faith in God is as it should
be, unfettered by the silly notions of what seems possible with human
eyes and human effort.

And so it is that this process and its result, which will change my
life forever, is almost completely out of my control to alter for my
own good. And I am reminded in the midst of that helplessness by my
wife, who trusts that God hears our prayers and will answer in
abundance. And I am reminded also by a pastor from the past who
believed that even if we could change these out-of-our-hands kinds of
things, we wouldn't want to, because in doing so we'd be settling for
less than the very best that God has prepared for us. And so I can
see how peace can be had amidst all this waiting and worrying, and am
trying to reside myself in that place, and am finding it to be not a
little scary but also very, very assuring.
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