Wow! We are two months away from visiting our sons in Haiti! We are 8 and ½ months from bringing them home! Of course, please know that is an estimate. Which leads me to my most recent thoughts and readings as of late.
First, I am going to try to be very real in this blog. To begin with there are many times I want to write something for this blog. But, I wrestle with my motive being pure. I must seek Him and ask Him to remove the pride and selfish desires in sharing some of the things He shows me, realizing sometimes they are just for me. It is very hard to feel the spirit pressing on you when you see your own sin, your own pride, your own wickedness and to feel so powerless to do anything about it. To just not like the way I am, or the way I act or the way I want others to perceive me. It is hard to realize that I want someone to think of me as spiritual, or knowledgeable about God. It is hard to feel that self-glorification creeping in and to be able to recognize it and then to repent of it. So, I guess the first thing is to begin to be real, to be honest, and to not pretend. This is that beginning: it is in this process that I have to realize that it is not my words that will help anyone, it is not my writing that will lead anyone to the cross, it is only by His spirit. He must do that in me first, and then He must do that in each heart. And so I cry out with the Psalmist in Psalm 137: b “Do not abandon the work of your hands.!” Please help me! Help me to clearly see my sin, help me to clearly see the vanity of my soul, the terrible sin of pride! I am desperate for You to help me, to find me, to wash me with your blood. I am as desperate as these precious babies crying out for mothers at the orphanage. I am as desperate as the thief on the cross, crying out to Jesus, please remember me! You who bore my sin, let me not stay in that sin. How can there be victory when my sin is always with me? How can I shine for you? How can others know you? And then, you come, and whisper peace to my soul, it is not in me, it is in You. It is your blood that has cleansed my soul. It is your death, it is your brokenness that has restored me. And God’s word so quickly reminds me: for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Phil.2;13. How simply humbling. It is His spirit.
So it is with that premise that I share with you what I feel He has been showing me. I have been doing a lot of reading and studying on prayer. To begin with, I have realized through a book by Tim Keller that we have been given a perfect model of prayer from Jesus Himself. We often say this prayer by heart, quote it at church and often think no more of it. It is in this guideline for prayer that there is so much to be learned, probably way too much for me to share in one blog post. But, to begin with the Lord’s prayer starts us right out in a state of understanding that we are not God. We do not know what is best for us. “Our Father Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.” He is Holy, perfect, righteous, just and solely unlike us. He knows all things, and we do not. It seems so simple, but yet it is so freeing to begin our time of prayer with this acknowledgement. It somehow simplifies and humbles our prayer time. It is beginning with the realization of our limited knowledge of His ways, and that His ways are often not our ways. And then as we begin to pray “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”, noting that we don’t necessarily repeat these exact words, but can put them in our own way. We already are able to be open to what His will is. Since Your will oh Lord contains that which we in our humanness cannot see…Your plan is for Your Glory for the whole world, not just for our small world.
So it is here that I often find the rub. It is here that I want what I want. It is in this place that the struggle begins.
I love the idea in this book entitled the struggle of Prayer by by Donald G. Bloesch he says, “Prayer is the…constant struggle to take hold of the outstretched hand of God. “ He is there always, never tiring, never wearying of my requests of my neediness, even to the point where Augustine says about prayer “The best disposition for praying is that of being desolate, forsaken, stripped , of everything.”
That is surely not a quote I have heard before re; prayer. To think that it is in our place of greatest need, our place of greatest pain, despair and helplessness that is the best place to be coming to our Father in prayer.
The adoption and its processes have been something that I have struggled to understand. Even our oldest son Luke, said his friends from college asked if these were the same boys we were adopting when he was a freshman in college? Um, yes. Had I known each day how long each next step would take, I don’t think I could bear it. But somehow knowing they are waiting for a family, waiting for us to come, you cry out to God again for His mercy and His justice and His promises, asking Him to hear our prayers and our groaning.
The picture on this blog is the most recent one we received of the boys. Upon receiving it, I wept. Today I read Psalm 146. Verse 9 said “The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow.” But, now the fatherless have a name, they have a face, they are ours. Thank you Lord for sustaining them. But, I long for them to come home. And I think of the verse often quoted, but so appropriate for those adopting, “
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you”. John 14:18
Your will be done, your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. You care for the fatherless, finish this work.
Give us this day our daily bread. What is our daily bread? Is it our food alone? Is it the things we need/want? Perhaps our daily bread is so much more. When Satan tempted Jesus on the 40th day of his fast, he offered him bread and Jesus’ response was that man does not live on bread alone….but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Perhaps our needs reveal more. We are shown what we really need is Him. Once the boys come home our days will be harder I am sure. We will need every ounce of strength, every nugget of wisdom we can muster. Trusting Him to provide that which right now seems like it will be way too hard.
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. I repent O Lord of those I have hurt in my zeal and pride. Those that have been bruised and damaged by my sin. I repent. Forgive me. I forgive those that have hurt me.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from Evil. Please lead us away by Your grace and mercy by your Spirit from the trappings of the world. 15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:15-16 Oh, how I love the recognition of men, I love to hear their good jobs, I am sorry Lord, let me only listen for your voice of approval.
Your name is above all names. Your name deserves all the praise and all the Glory. Be glorified in our lives.
His hand is outstretched to you today, this day, this night…reach out and grab it, He is your father. He will not leave you as an orphan either. My redeemer lives!
Praying you home Robenson, Samson, Jimmy and Ricardo. Mama renmen ou.
In their school uniforms: