… of challenging times, God’s desire is that we still delight in Him. Most often His urging to find joy in the midst of sorrow comes through His word. And His urging is based up HIS PRESENCE in the midst of trying circumstances, HIS PURPOSES that we would be refined and molded into the likeness of His glorious Son, and HIS PROMISE that every hardship we endure can be viewed as coming through the hand of our loving adopted Father and is in reality a mark of sonship.
Sometimes, He brings ridiculously lavish fun into our lives in the midst of heartache pointing toward the reality that He is, in His nature, a happy God.
On Christmas Eve our family was gathered at the table finishing up Bartholomew’s Passage when the phone rang. Not wanting to pause our reading, this guy left us a message …
Hi. This is Sid. I’m one of the elves at the North Pole, but I’ve been out with swine flu. I’m just making deliveries now. Check your front porch.
With supernatural self-control, the kids stayed in their seats and let Bill check out the situation. In he comes with an overflowing bag of gifts, not from Sid, but from God. The tags actually said, “From God!”
One by one the children opened the gifts – each one perfect for their style, their personality, their size! However, Grace didn’t have a gift. The other girls realized it and shared their bounty with her. But the next day, at some point, another bag was delivered – more gifts with a special one for Grace. The note on the outside read,
Sorry, this one fell off the sleigh. ~Sid
What lavish FUN through the hands of our God who offers us HIS joy that our joy may be complete.
These past several weeks have been hard. In some ways the transition to having Katya home has gone much smoother than what we imagined, however the honeymoon is over, the adrenalin has worn off, and reality of the long-haul has settled in. Food hiding, treasure stealing, picky eating, potty-training, ear-splitting squealing, sibling wrangling, and more keep us hopping and hoping as we prayerfully try to walk the balance between compassion for Katya, desire to see her experience healing, and the need to continue to offer stability and consistency for the rest of the family. We are feeling the build-up of stress from the year-and-a-half process topped off by the intensity of the past four months as we traveled to Ukraine, once with the whole family, once for four weeks leaving the children in the U.S., and then once more for me all by myself to bring Katya home. We’re recognizing that we have neglected to adequately care for our own hearts and to appropriately cope with pressure. We have kept too many plates spinning and between life pressures, adoption pressures, and financial pressures of our church and family … and we hit a wall.
Our church so graciously has given and continues to give us time to rest, to recover, and to reflect on which plates need to be put down so that we can run well and to address the issues of our hearts. People both inside and outside our church have come alongside us giving us help, wisdom, support, prayer, encouragement, gifts, and fun. In the midst of it all, the Lord knew we needed “Sid.” He urged someone(s) to give lavishly and specifically.
In the midst of this “now” of our lives, we have hope, and this is a hope that does not disappoint.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
So, “Thanks, Sid to you, your underlings, and your reindeer!” for being part of God’s work to point us to God and His delight in us.