Thursday, November 6, 2014

Completing the Puzzle

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Usually every time I speak to someone about the adoption process, the question about cost inevitably comes up. I watch each time as people’s jaws drop over the number. I’ll admit that my mouth dropped a little bit, too when I first heard the cost. I already knew it wasn't an easy number, but it hits you harder when it’s actually spoken to you.

After they gather up their jaws, the next response is usually the rhetorical question, “Why is adoption so high?” The question they are really asking is, “Why is it so hard to do something good?”
I could go into an article about why adoption should be expensive and draw parallels to the cost Christ paid to bring us back into His family. Instead, I’d rather talk about how we are dealing with this overwhelming impossibility. Simply put, we are having faith.

The struggle with faith is really an emotional one. Having faith is a matter of calming our nerves about the gap between what is and what must be. It’s our circumstances versus reality. Our eyes can be easily deceived. All too often, we can take what we can see and choose to believe it as fact. As humans, we like this. We like knowing that we know that we know that we know everything about our circumstances. We like to leave nothing to chance. So we look at the puzzle pieces before our eyes and try to put them together.

However, the sights before our eyes can actually be lying to us. We assume the pieces will fit together so we try to assemble the puzzle. But what happens when the puzzle is incomplete? We sit in confusion as the puzzle we thought should have fit together just won’t work. We assume that we have failed. Then we are horrified because we choose to believe the puzzle will never be completed. And we are right. There is no way to complete the puzzle given the pieces at hand.

This gap between the incomplete and the completed puzzle is where worry lives. Worry thrives in our despair over the belief that not only is the puzzle incomplete, but that it will never be completed. But what else are we supposed to believe? The circumstances that we see tell us that the puzzle will not work, therefore, it will never work.

But just because the puzzle is incomplete, it doesn't mean that it can’t or won’t be completed. Just because the pieces aren't at hand, doesn't mean they don’t exist nor does it mean that we need fret about getting them. How can we believe this? How can we believe something that we don’t see? 

That’s faith.

Our family has a “Verse of the Week” that we write on a chalkboard in our kitchen. Here is the verse for this week from a few different translations:

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (NLT)
He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. (MSG)
God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing. (NCV)

What struck me when I read this verse was that not only has God called us to do the work, but He has planned the work in advance. He has set up circumstances, arranged meetings, and scheduled events to line up and pave the way for us to do what He has called us to do. (Another cool thought is that the work we are doing is part of paving the way for the work of someone else, too!) God never calls us to do something that He Himself hasn’t prepared for us to do well in advance.

My wife will often teach me about the ways of Twitter. One such thing is this idea of a shot/chaser in the news. This means that 2 disparate news stories can actually help explain each other when put together. There are lots of these in the Bible. There are many verses where they explain something of the nature of God and have a story that backs it up in a different chapter or book.

So, let’s assume Ephesian 2:10 is the shot. Here is a chaser…

The passage in these 3 Gospels describes Jesus instructing His disciples to prepare the room for them to hold the Passover meal (which would be the Last Supper). He sends them, tells them what will happen and when they go they find everything just as He said. Everything was arranged for them to complete the task. Here is another chaser…

In this passage, Jesus sends His disciples to get a donkey from the town ahead of them. He doesn’t say to go find a donkey. He tells them exactly where it is and that the owners will already know that it is for Jesus. When they go, again everything is just as He said.

Our current circumstances show us that we do not have enough to afford this adoption on our own. However, as crazy as it seems, I wouldn’t want to do it alone. This journey has been far more interesting than if we’d had the necessary funds from the beginning. This journey has provided our community with an opportunity to bless and, in blessing, an opportunity to obey God themselves. I have been far more astonished by God’s provision and the generosity of others than I ever was about the cost of adoption.

So we are choosing to have faith for the unseen. We may not have all the pieces right now, but I’m excited to see the donkeys and rooms that God arranged for us to complete this puzzle.

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