In about two hours from now, Katie and I will travel to the orphanage again. This time, we will not be leaving without our third child coming with us. . . for good. At two o’clock today the three of us will appear before the U.S. embassy here in Ethiopia, be asked a few questions, vow to take care of her to the best of our ability, and then leave with her in our full custody. All we have been anticipating for the last 3 years will be a reality.
Speaking of reality, it is REALLY starting to set in. The picture you see above? That is how we left her yesterday, the last time we will ever leave her there, napping in her bed. Last night was the last night she will ever sleep in that bed. Last night was the last night Katie and I will sleep without being responsible for her welfare – in every and all situations and circumstances.
In about two hours from now, we will all start our “New Normal.” Life will be new for each of us. A new normal life will begin.
If I can be ‘gut’ honest for a second, there is a part of my flesh that doesn’t want a new normal. Have you ever obeyed Jesus, anticipated what you told Him you would do, and when it came to the moment of ‘no return,’ you freaked out? Maybe it was sign up to go on a short term mission trip. Maybe it was give a certain amount of money for mission work. Maybe it was be baptized. Maybe it was take a cut in pay to take a job where you could be more intentional for the sake of the Gospel. Maybe it was leave your current job and go to seminary. Maybe it was volunteer to teach a Sunday School class. Maybe it was have another child. Maybe it was adopt a child.
Have you ever been there? All was ‘well and good’ until the moment of actually doing it came – then your emotions went into a total ‘freak out’ stage????
Well, my friends, I’m there. I woke up about 2 am last night (6 pm Arkansas time) scared out of my mind. That ‘moment of no return’ hit. That ‘it sure would be nice and comfortable right now if I were back in my home with Katie and the boys watching Food Network or Disney or Andy Griffith’ hit me real hard. It just came out of nowhere. But there it was. Scared. Wanting the ‘old normal’ to stick around. Fearful about what was to come . . . from this day forward.
By God’s grace, I was able to doze back off to sleep (singing to myself Steven Curtis Chapman’s ‘The Great Adventure’! . . . another moment of my past that came ‘out of nowhere’).
You know where my daily Bible reading had me this morning? Mark 4:21-41. While in the shower, I had pleaded with the Lord to speak to me from His Word. As always, He did.
Consider the last 7 verses of the chapter:
“On that day, when evening had come, He said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd, they took Him with them in the boat, just as He was. And other boats were with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But He was in the stem, asleep on the cushion. And they woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey Him?'” (35-41)
You know what God said to me from this text?
“Hey Matt, I could have easily let the disciples ‘coast’ to the other side of that lake without a storm. It would have been much easier and simpler for them had I not sent a storm. But I love them too much to let them ‘coast.’ Had I not sent the storm into their lives, they would have missed seeing a glimpse of My glory, a demonstration of My power. Matt, in the same way, I love you too much to let you coast through life. I love you and want you to know Me and see Me and experience My power and My glory. Do not be afraid, Matt. Peace. Be still.”
Yes, Lord. Thank You.
I am still battling my flesh this morning. But score yet another win for Jesus and His Spirit speaking through His Word.
Let’s follow our Leader into the glorious unknown. This is a life like no other. This is the Great Adventure (thanks Steven Curtis).