“(A)s soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away …. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.” Joshua 3:15b-17 (NIV)
A year ago, I shared a park bench with Tamara.
Children hand-over-handed in the playground behind us as Tamara told me about a little girl who she loved more than life itself.
This little girl was born in a Ukrainian hospital weighing in at just over two pounds. Her mother abandoned her in the hospital and hasn’t been seen since. Tamara and her husband decided to take this little girl, their granddaughter, home and raise her as their own.
A year later, Tamara’s husband died and with it died Tamara’s dreams of building a house in the Ukrainian countryside and spending her summers tending sunflowers with her granddaughter.
Five years later, Tamara was a widow with increasing health problems and decreasing ability to provide for herself or her granddaughter. Occasionally she still visited the land in the country, picked sunflowers, and sat in the sun. But, more often she worried about her granddaughter’s future. Without another option, she did the unthinkable and placed her granddaughter in an orphanage. Tamara knew that the older girls are not so easily adopted, and God forbid her granddaughter should age out of the orphanage and become prey for the traffickers. By placing her in the orphanage at six years of age, Tamara radically increased the likelihood that she would be adopted.
A year ago, I shared a park bench with Tamara as she told me about her granddaughter, Katya.
Today, Katya is 100% my daughter.
This summer she has played at the beach, in the mountains, with cousins, and with friends. She’s passed the swim test at our city pool and jumped off the diving board. She’s spent hours at the library, playing Polly Pockets, and giving shots to her doll, Kirsten. This week, we are putting together a care package to send to Tamara. It’s filled with photos of Katya’s past nine months, letters and pictures from all the children, and jewelry that Katya made for her grandmother.
Perhaps you’re like Bill and me. We didn’t start our marriage knowing that we wanted to adopt. Instead, we birthed six children and said to each other, “We’re open to adoption.” But we doubted God would take us up on it.
I loved what a dear friend of ours preached on Sunday, “When God gets ready for you to take a new step, it will always be in line with what he’s been doing.”
God gave Bill and me a heart for children. He gave us a little tribe of our own. He gave us passion to see a mighty army of kingdom warriors raised up through families and nurtured in the local church. And, in the process of raising our tribe and caring for others, he stirred our heart for the fatherless. He gave us the opportunity to travel to Ukraine and visit orphans.
Then he quickly brought Katya to our home for three weeks.
Three and a half months later, we were ready to welcome Katya into our home, not as our guest, but as our daughter.
This “new step” was right in line with what God had been doing in our hearts and lives for years.
Are you at a time of “new step?” We are. We really are. We don’t even yet see what the step is. But we trust that God who has led us thus far, will continue to lead us into the future. And our “new step” will be right in line with what he’s already been doing.
The Israelite priests stood on the edge of a raging river. Balancing the very presence of God in a gold-covered box, they stood on the edge of the Jordan. For forty years God had been preparing the nation of Israel for this moment. Forty years before, their fathers had seen God part the waters of the Red Sea and lead them through on dry ground consuming an army of Egyptians behind them. Now, it was their turn. I wish I could have seen the resolve on the faces of these priests as they dipped their big toes into the river, one with a pole in his right, the other with a pole in his left. I wish I could see them nodding at one another, turning their gaze forward, and taking that first step. I wish I could have seen their eyes widen as the waters began to pile up, and up, and up. I wish I could have seen their joy as tribe after tribe swirled around them crossing into the Promised Land.
Their step into the Jordan was right in line with what God had been doing.
A year ago, I shared a park bench with Tamara. Today the little girl she loved and released is my daughter, right in line with what God had already been doing.
What has he been doing in your life? In your heart?
Two years ago, God invited us to visit orphans in their distress. He brought an orphan into our home for three weeks. Four months later we began the process of claiming her as our own. This was right in line with what he had already been doing in our hearts and lives.
Are you at a season of “new step?” What has God been doing in your life? What is he doing now? What could he be doing that is right in line with what he has already been doing in your life? Consider being bold enough to dip your toe in the Jordan. I am. Leave me a comment about your “new step.” I’ll be praying for you!
Father, thank you that every new step that you bring into our lives is right in line with what you have already been doing. Help me to take the time to consider what you have been doing and give me the boldness to step forward in faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Fields of the Fatherless, Tom Davis
Adopted for Life, Russell Moore
Take a few minutes and jot down what God has been doing in your life. Think about your childhood, your adolescence, your young adult years, and where you are right now. What are the key events? Connect the dots and get a picture of what he has already been doing. Now open your heart and ask him if there is a next step that is right in line with what he has already been doing. Dip your toe in the Jordan and dare him to pile up the waters.
What keeps you from taking a step of faith? What keeps you from dipping your toe in the Jordan?
Is there someone in your life who you can ask to pray for you to boldly take a step of faith?
Read Joshua 1:5-6. What promise does God make to Joshua that will enable him to be strong and very courageous? How does this bring comfort and courage to your heart as you consider dipping your toe in the Jordan?