Soon after we adopted our son from Russia, the Russian Federation completely closed its doors to adoption from the United States of America and they have remained closed since that time in 2012. According to Wikipedia there are more than 650,000 orphans in Russia. When we brought Titus home in August of 2012, we did not know at the time that if there had been any delay in our process or paperwork we likely would never have brought him home. By the close of the year of 2012, even families who were in process or had been approved for the adoption of their children were not allowed to return to bring them home.
Can you imagine? Knowing that your child, whom you have committed yourself to as a parent would now know that disappointment anew of being left behind. My heart broke. For the children, for the adoptive parents, for our broken systems and our broken world. In response I called on the people of our church to come together to pray.
We set aside an evening and prepared points to pray over. We secured a space and set a mood of reverence and reflection. And of the 100’s of people who called our church theirs, only 4 people, beside myself, came to pray. Only 4. My heart was broken. How is it possible that more people were not compelled to pray? To fall before the Lord and ask Him to intervene. Even now, all these years later, I can’t explain away my disappointment or talk myself out of feeling just so sad for that situation.
However, in these several years that have passed, I can say that I know and believe in a new way, that God was present. I know His faithfulness and love does not need to be made evident to me in a tangible way or through a “successful” prayer meeting or turn out in order for me to know and experience it. It is not because of the power of our numbers, or the strength of our fervency, or the articulate words we can say to get Him to answer or respond to our requests. It is God alone and His love who accomplishes His will.
Through prayer we have the opportunity to align with Him, not get Him to align with us. And I can honestly say that that night, those several years ago, my purpose was unfulfilled not because people didn’t show up but because I couldn’t get over my disappointment and therefore missed the chance for sweet communion with other believers and with the Lord. And as I continue to grow in my relationship with Him, I pray that I can be thankful for moments to spend time with Him regardless of what else is in my heart to accomplish. I pray for you too that whatever season you are in, you know the presence and faithfulness of the Lord.
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.