As I sit down to write this post, in the quiet of my home, my heart is calling out “Abba, Father, help me! Govern my thoughts, incline my heart to your truth, and write hope into my words. I need you.” Friends, let me be honest with you. I am broken. And right now I am clinging for dear life to every bit of grace My Jesus is supplying.
When we adopted Hope nearly 2 years ago, we were over-the-moon in love with her. We had stars in our eyes and butterflies in our tummies, and everything was just about as perfect as it could be. Life was good.
Until it wasn’t.
Nothing could have prepared us for the immense darkness we were about to enter. Within a month of signing adoption papers, we found ourselves in the middle of a messy legal battle with Hope’s birth father. It just about ruined me. I lived in fear, every minute of every day. Nightmares and hallucinations plagued me at night, and my waking thoughts were occupied with fear that Hope would be taken away. That she would be handed over to the man whose only interest lie in how he could financially profit from her disabilities, and not in actual love for her. That injustice would win out and that God wouldn’t move mountains for her good. I was consumed.
After over a year of pleading with Him to act in our favor, God saw fit to bring our battle to an end on what seemed to us to be a random day in June (though nothing is random with God), and He placed Hope in our home forever. Our circumstances changed that day, and I still thank Him for that.
What didn’t change, though, was the fear that was holding my heart captive.
All along I thought that once Hope became legally ours, everything I was afraid of would simply vanish. That I would no longer be a slave to fear and would instead happily move on with life. Oh, I wish that’s what happened! But it isn’t.
Why? Because my fears were more deeply rooted than the fear that we would lose her. I was desperately afraid to hope and trust in God. In the midst of the legal injustice of our situation, I stopped believing that God is just. When all things pointed toward an unfavorable outcome for Hope’s future, I struggled to believe that He is good.
Does this sound familiar to you? If you have read about the Israelites’ captivity in and escape from Egypt, and their years of wandering in the desert, it should! After being enslaved under merciless rule, God miraculously delivered them from their harsh circumstances in Egypt. His plan was to lead them straight from deliverance into the Promised Land, a journey that was to take just a few weeks. But in their rebellion, the Israelites forfeited a life of freedom in the land flowing with milk and honey for a 40-year death march in the desert. They were afraid to move forward for fear of being overtaken by their enemies and instead disobediently tried to go back. God’s people chose to forget that their Father delivered them, and they failed to believe that He would work things out for their good, just as He promised.
You see, the Israelites were living in fear of what could happen, not in the hope of what would happen.
Friend, are you in this place today? If so, you are not alone! Just like the Israelites, I am afraid of the circumstances that might lie ahead, for fear that when trouble comes, I will stop believing in God’s goodness and justice. Living in this fear is keeping me from having hope in what actually will happen- God will remain good, and His justice will prevail, no matter what.
And because I am not living in the freedom of hope, my heart continues to be in the bondage of fear.
My dear Father, despite my unbelief, is still faithfully holding my hand as I wade through the waters of fear and despair, confusion and mistrust, questioning and doubting. I might not have faith today that He is good, but this one thing I am assured of- I am loved by Him.
And for this moment, that’s enough.
~Part 1 of a series on fear and faith~