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For as long as memory serves, I can recall us "good Christians" always asking God for some sign to reveal His will for our life- something tangible, an audible voice, a recognizable reminder that He is here with us, holding our hand, leading the way, steering the wheel.
I've even been guilty myself of making deals with Him.
"God, if you will do this for me, then I will do that for you. 'Let this cup pass from me,' and then I will know for sure you really exist. Then I will do big things for you." Or, something along those lines-my decisions always predicated on what He would first do or show me. And so for most of my life, I became a waiting expert- content to wait for that ostensible sign from God above, hoping somehow for a miraculous revelation of His holy road map for my life.
That was easy.
A much harder theology to embrace is that in order to find we must first seek, and that seeking by definition means acting not reacting- doing something before we may feel led or inspired to actually do it.
Doing it before we get our sign.
So a few years ago my family, spurred on by the words of James to the early Christians, decided to turn down a less traveled road. We hadn't exactly heard God's royal voice, nor had we seen irrefutable evidence of His will. Didn't feel some great calling either or especially qualified to do anything other than what we had been doing in our past.
Just figured we had an extra bedroom for some kids who might need a safe place to land for a while.
And so now, I find it mildly curious when people ask me if I worry about how fostering and adopting might negatively affect my biological children, even though a few years earlier I might have asked the same question of others so inclined. My answer is always the same:
Not worried a bit.
Worried about as much as I might worry about how my wife birthing another one herself would "harm" them. Not even a blip on the worry radar. In fact, what I really worry about is trying to explain to my kids how my religion demands I care for the defenseless, how my religion demands I give food, drink, and clothes to the needy, how we have such a charmed life- a life full of blessings and bounty and how we could then choose to ignore during the week the faith we profess on Sunday. How could we refuse to share in our undeserving abundance?
No, I worry more about obscuring the light of His truth in a reclusive, self-absorbed, self-seeking, self-indulgent bushel of me.
I worry more about the negative effects of complacent faith, deceiving us into believing the chief aim of mankind is self-gratification at every given moment in time- a lifeless faith that never challenges us to get over ourselves
A faith without sacrifice.
God didn't save me to church attendance. God didn't save me to one hour of Sunday entertainment. God didn't save me to build up walls against those different from myself. He saved me to serve Him. He saved me to care for the least of my brothers.
He saved me to rescue the perishing and care for the dying.
I would be lying if I said the journey down this road was not without its sadness. The truth is our experience (despite appearances) hasn't been some cutesy, idyllic, picture perfect postcard of blissful living. It has been and continues to be hard work with a little bit of everything else mixed up and thrown in together. We've learned a lot about ourselves, about our children, about humility, about the kind of faith we hope to have one day.
And, in this process, we are still discovering something else:
We'll never see the signs along the side of the road,
while sitting quietly in
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