Monday, January 26, 2009

What's the Word?

For the past two Saturdays Eric and I have sat through 14 hours of training required each year of foster parents.

Several of you have asked, "How was it?"

A hard question to answer. We went through a myriad of every emotion imaginable. Our hearts were broken and rejoiced. Our eyes were opened while at times we wanted to squeeze them tightly closed. We laughed, cried, reflected, wondered, listened, related, laughed and cried a little more.

There is really no word that captures all that we experienced in those 14 hours.

A few weeks ago in church, we sang "Blessed be the Name of the Lord." We were first introduced to this song several years ago during a difficult time in our lives. We found comfort in the fact, that even in the storm, we could choose to bless the Lord. One verse in the song repeats: "You give and take away, You give and take away, My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your Name." As we sang these words for the hundreth time a few days ago, I was struck with the reality of what I was singing. This is a time in our family where He will give and take away over and over again. We will be given a child to love and then, in all probability, that child will be taken away from us.

The joy will come in loving that child as if she'll remain in our family forever--with the knowledge that most likely she won't.

The pain will also come in that kind of love.

The question we're most often asked: Why? Why would you choose this at this time in your lives?

Our answer to the "why" question has been that we're following the leading of the Holy Spirit--which is true. The problem with answering that question is that, at times, we're the ones asking it.

"Untold numbers of professing Christians waste their lives trying to escape the cost of love. They do not see that it is always worth it. There is more of God's glory to be seen and savored through suffering than through self-serving escape. Paul puts it like this: 'Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of the glory beyond all comparision' (2 Corinthians 4:16-17). 'Momentary' refers to a lifetime in comparison with eternity. 'Slight' refers to suffering and death compared to the weight of everlasting joy in the presence of God. This is what we gain if we hold fast to Christ. This is what we waste if we don't." (John Piper, "Don't Waste Your Life, p. 73).

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