“Apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Never has this verse been truer for our lives than now. Humbled as never before, we are so very desperate for Him. He is our very breath. A call from God requires the strength only God can provide.
For me, Michelle, as I approach forty years of having been a Christian, I have never had my faith tried in the way that God’s call to adopt has done. And I know that it is similar for Ron.
A friend recently asked me how I was. My response was: broken. I am broken, like a glass shattered into pieces on the floor. Emotionally, physically, and spiritually broken.
The intro to the book of Ephesians in the Message Bible states:
“What we know about God and what we do for God have a way of getting broken apart in our lives. The moment the organic unity of belief and behavior is damaged in any way, we are incapable of living out the full humanity for which we were created. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians joins together what has been torn apart in our sin-wrecked world. He begins with an exuberant exploration of what Christians believe about God, and then, like a surgeon skillfully setting a compound fracture, “sets” this belief in God into our behavior before God so that the bones—belief and behavior—knit together and heal. “
The fracture is painful. The brokenness for me comes from the Christian I have thought I was, and now really seeing the reality of who I am. Christ revealing my inability to be or do good or to love apart from Him. To know in my mind to love, to be patient, to be strong, to be all that Christ has called us to be…and yet to actually implement those truths when it is not natural to love is hard. The brokenness causes a kind of suffering. Suffering is a universal language. None are immune from its coming. Suffering comes in many forms and in many ways. And yet Christ suffered for us, so why are we surprised to journey down that path? We are called to suffer with Him.
Phil 1:29, MSG
There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting
I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself.
Nicholas Wolterstorff wrote an amazing little book entitled, Lament for A Son. His 25 yr. old son died in a mountain climbing accident. This little book was such a help to me in that it doesn’t try to sugar coat death with cute Christian platitudes. It reminds us that Death was not God’s original plan. Death is a result of sin and the fall. Death is our enemy. Yes, Christ won the victory over death, we do not grieve as those with no hope, we have the hope of eternity, I am not discounting that. But, in our acute suffering in situations like this, we must be every so careful of those around us in their loss. As he states in his book, we must sit beside them on the mourning bench. He says many write him that have not lost a child , but perhaps a mate, or perhaps they are just walking through a dark time. And for me this was true. I lament what our family was before, the changes that come when children from brokenness come to a place of wholeness. Each one takes something from everyone in this home. We give of our wholeness to restore their brokenness. But, we are not very good at it yet. We have so much to learn. And so suffering comes in various ways and forms as love is learned.
Wolterstorff says, “God is love. That is why he suffers. To love our suffering sinful world is to suffer. God so suffered for the world that he gave up his only Son to suffering. The one who does not see God’s suffering does not see His love. God is suffering Love. So suffering is down at the center of things, deep down where the meaning is. Suffering is the meaning of our world. For love is the meaning. And love suffers. The tears of God are the meaning of history. But mystery remains. Why isn’t Love-without-suffering the meaning of things? Why is suffering-Love the meaning? Why does god endure his suffering? Why does he not at once relieve His agony by relieving ours?”
Sometimes we try to fill in the spaces about God that we do know. We want our theology to be complete so we think we have to have the answer for every question. But, how can we completely know a God that is all-powerful, all knowing, and always present? If we knew that, then wouldn’t we be God?
“Love in our world is suffering love. Some do not suffer much, though, for they do not love much. Suffering is for the loving. If I hadn’t loved him, there wouldn’t be this agony.” Wolterstorff here is referring to his son, in his statement if I hadn’t loved him, there wouldn’t be this agony. He finishes with, “This said Jesus, is the command of the Holy One: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In commanding us to love, God invites us to suffer.”
In closing this amazing passage from Hebrews 6:14-6 The Message
14-16 Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
The boys love school and have been welcomed with open and loving arms in this community. We have honestly been blown away by the love and support given by the school, teachers, staff, children and parents here. Every day they are so happy to go off to school. This is a great blessing and answer to prayer.
Ron and Michelle: time together, support one another and strength
Luke and Paige: Wisdom and guidance in future plans and wedding on November 4
Abi: Intern with Youth at Church this summer is a praise, Attending EMU in fall
Kaiti: Summer job, Attending EMU in fall, Feel God’s Mercy
Josh: This guy takes a good share of hardship at this point with his brothers. Please lift him up.
Anna: Adjusting to brothers, mourning the loss of our old family.
Ally: Just takes it all in stride, pray for her to have patience with brothers
Ella: Enjoying more normalcy with boys in school, health restored , Salvation
Robenson: Learning more English, kind to Josh, Salvation, 3 fillings, a daily medicine for 4 months
Samson: Continue to learn, good health, transfer trust from Robenson to us
Jimmy: Learning English, trusting in our love and the love of our family
Ricardo: Trusting in our love and the love of a family, he is learning the most English!
Thanks so much for your prayers, meals, support and kindness to our family.