Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Sharp Turn in the Path

With a thrill of indescribable joy Much-Afraid saw that at last the path did actually run straight toward the east and that it would lead them back to the High Places.

She dropped the hands of her two guides in order to clap her own, and gave a little skip of joy. No matter how great the distance between them and the mountains, now at last they were to go in the right direction. All three started back across the desert, but Much-Afraid could not wait for her guides, and actually ran on ahead as though she had never been lame at all.

Suddenly the path took another turn at right angles and went straight before her as far as she could see, not toward the mountains at all, but southward again to where far ahead the desert seemed to end in some sort of hill country. Much-Afraid stood quite still, dumb with dismay and shock. Then she began to tremble all over, It could not be possible, no, it couldn’t, that yet again the Shepherd was saying “No,” and turning her right away from the High Places

Sorrow and her sister came up to Much-Afraid and stood by her side quite silently, and for a little while everything was swallowed up in pain and “an horror of great darkness.” A sudden swirling wind shrieked over the desert and raised a storm of dust and sand which blinded them.

In the silence which succeeded the storm Much-Afraid heard her voice, low and trembling, but quite distinct, saying, “My Lord, what dost thou want to say to me? Speak—for thy servant heareth.”

Next moment the Shepherd was standing beside her. “Be of good cheer,” he said, “it is I, be not afraid. Build me another altar and lay down your whole will as a burnt offering.”

Obediently Much-Afraid raised a little heap of sand and loose stones, which was all that she could find in the desert, and again laid down her will and said with tears (for Sorrow had stepped forward and knelt beside her), “I delight to do thy will, O my God,”

From somewhere, though they could not see the source, there came a spurt of flame which consumed the offering and left a little heap of ashes on the altar. Then came the Shepherd’s voice. “This further delay is not unto death, but for the glory of God; that the son of God may be glorified.”

In a similar way to Much-Afraid’s journey in Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds’ Feet on High Places, “suddenly the path took another turn” for us last week.

On Wednesday night, a friend came over for dinner and Charly shared our excitement with him that our file had been “locked” with our two boys’ files the day before. He told him that our adoption journey the past two months has seemed like both a miracle and a battle. We hoped that the battle part was over now and we would soon be seeing the fulfillment of the miracle. Little did we know then what the next day would bring.

On Thursday morning I posted Waiting as an Offering about our “hugely encouraging news this week: our two boys’ files were “locked” with ours in Beijing! It feels so real now. Close to our being able to bring them home (maybe early October). God has so clearly moved adoption mountains for us and has “opened a door that no one can close” (Revelation 3:8). Our hearts are overflowing with praise.”

At that point (it seems so long ago now) I felt like Much-Afraid and her “thrill of indescribable joy” when she saw that “at last the path did actually run straight toward the east and that it would lead them back to the High Places.”

But just a few hours later that day, Charly read outloud a shocking email message that changed the course of our path: “Hua Ming An is in the hospital.”

And since then, we have been living in the unknown of what his serious medical situation means for his and our future.

Our heart’s cry has been for Hua Ming An’s healing. And we really want to hear what God wants to say to us in this. Ultimately, we hope that God will be glorified.

We don’t know why He has allowed this to happen or what good He will bring out of it.

We are not in control of the outcome. It is in God’s hands. But we are in control of our response. It is more difficult now, but our hearts can still overflow with praise. Our circumstances have changed, but God remains the same.

Not our will, but Yours be done.

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