Monday, June 30, 2014

God is in the Fire


上帝在火里.”

Daniel was talking to himself as he flipped through the pictures in a Bible storybook yesterday morning.

His words spoke to my heart—first because he remembered from the picture that God was in the fire as He led the Israelites by night out of Egypt. Because of his brain damage we don’t always know his level of comprehension or how he’s processing, so to hear him speak those simple words of truth was a great encouragement to me. But even more so, his words spoke to my heart because they were simple words of truth that I needed to hear yesterday.


When it was dark, God was in the fire—providing direction.

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, God was in the fire—protecting them from harm.

And when our family has felt like we have been surrounded by flames of testing and trial this past year, God has been right there in the fire with us.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2)

God helped me last summer during our battle to complete David and Daniel’s adoptions before our paperwork expired—to see that in the midst of circumstances we would never have chosen for ourselves: It Is Here where we don’t want to be that faith must work.

And He reminded me last fall—just after we had been matched with the boys, when we received news of Daniel’s sudden and severe brain infection—through the contrast of dark threatening clouds outside one set of our apartment windows and the blinding sunlight through our other set of windows: I’ll Be There With You in this storm.

In His Merciful Sovereignty, He takes us into the fire so that He can be there for us what He could not be for us if we spent all of our days sipping pina coladas at the beach.

Beth Moore’s books have greatly ministered to me these past few months. Learning about her struggles and heartaches through their family’s adoption has reminded me that we are not alone, on those days that have felt lonely and hopeless. For us, learning how to be an adoptive family these past 8 ½ months has not been an easy or smooth transition. Not that I expected it to be a walk in the park, but I also wasn’t prepared for it to be this difficult. I don’t know how many times I have cried out to God through clouds of dark despair and feelings of defeat, “Is this really Your plan?”

But when did God ever say that His plan would be easy or smooth?

In several of her books, Beth Moore mentions the sifting of Simon Peter.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)

She says that the reason Jesus gave Satan permission to sift Peter was because there was something in him that needed sifting out. Through her writing, I have been able to see that this past year has been a time of sifting for me too. God has let me experience the enemy’s darkness, discouragement and defeat throughout the journey of our adoption, and has brought to the surface some real ugliness in my heart that might have lain hidden otherwise.

He has helped me to see my need to keep my focus on the True Source as I’m Learning through my children. So very thankful that God is not finished with me yet. There is hope. And He is strengthening me with glimpses of victory through passages like Psalm 91.

During an especially challenging day over a month ago, Jordan said she had a song she wanted Charly and me to listen to: “Hello My Name Is” by Matthew West. What a great message for us to hear to drown out the lies of the enemy. Through His amazing grace, God has given us new life—we have been set free from the past, from the chains of regret and defeat. I was reminded of the great truths in this song as we sang it again yesterday: I am a child of the one true King.

And through Daniel’s “上帝在火里,” I was reminded of the truth that God is in the Fire. He will never leave us to face the flames alone. He is on our side—providing direction and protecting us from harm—as He defends us and fights for us. To the very end.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

from Psalm 91



A friend shared Psalm 91 with me while we were in Tianjin during the last two weeks. After we got back home to Lanzhou yesterday I took some time to reflect on this psalm with our Webster's dictionary. Here is my prayer:


Father, help me to dwell (make my home/reside/live) in Your shelter (Your protection from the elements and from danger). I want to rest (be relieved from whatever in my life is distressing, annoying or tiring as I find my peace of mind, mental/emotional calm, and tranquility through being still and refreshed) in Your shadow. You are the Almighty (One with unlimited power).

You are my refuge (my place of safety, help, and comfort, my safe retreat, and my protection from danger or difficulty). You will cover me (conceal, blanket, keep me from harm or injury by shielding). Your faithfulness (continued steadfast adherence to me, constant allegiance) will be my shield (what guards, protects and defends me, warding off any blows or missiles).

I will not fear (feel anxious or agitated by the presence or nearness of danger/evil/pain) the terror of the night (overwhelming, paralyzing fear, dread felt in anticipating something dangerous or disagreeable). I choose to make the Most High my dwelling (my place to live/reside/abide). You will command Your angels to guard me (keep me safe from harm, watch over and protect me, keep me from trouble).

God, these are Your promises to me:

You will rescue me (free or save me from danger, imprisonment, evil, provide my release from captivity and my freedom from bondage).

You will protect me (shield me from injury, danger, or loss; guard and defend me).

You will answer me (respond to me appropriately).

You will be with me (alongside of me, near to me, in support of me, on my side) in trouble (state of mental distress/worry, state of misfortune, calamity, mishap, or a distressing/difficult situation).

You will deliver me (set me free from confinement or from a restricting situation).

You will honor me (regard highly and esteem).

You will satisfy me (to completely fulfill my needs, expectations, wishes, desires; to free me from doubt/anxiety; to be adequate and sufficient; to fill my requirements to the degree that I am not disturbed by a desire for something more or different).

You will show me Your salvation (my being saved from danger, evil, difficulty, destruction; my spiritual rescue from the consequences of sin; my redemption).

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