I love words.
I love speaking, hearing, writing them. I love adjectives, verbs, and all things descriptive.
My husband, Hugh, has been known to say I speak more words in my sleep than he does on any given day. Yet, if you ask me to describe my experience of God in one single word, my answer comes easy: Steadfast.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13)
About a month after Hugh started his pediatric residency, I remember listening to a sermon David Platt gave on having a “blank check” mentality. If you don’t know the premise of this, it is basically a reminder that we are the Lord’s and that we are to have open hands and open hearts to wherever, whoever, and however God wants to spend our schedule, money, and energy. At the time, this sounded fantastic. Hugh and I had it all planned out: we were going to go do missions in Peru as soon as he finished residency. By that time, we would probably have a couple of kids. We might even (gasp!) adopt one of them. It all sounded so perfect and godly; and if I’m honest, the godly part appealed to me for both pure and not so pure (think, appearance-based) reasons. It was going to be great.
Fast forward a few months, and I was unexpectedly pregnant with twins. A few months after the girls were born, the Lord made it clear that our plan was drastically different than the plan that God had written. (You can read more about this at hishandshisfeethisheart.com or On Milk and Honey: How God’s Goodness Shows Up in Unexpected Places). Our girls have a rare genetic disorder (two of twenty something in the world) called HECW2. While the disorder remained undiagnosed for some time, it became all too obvious that our supposed blank check was really us writing out the itinerary and arrogantly handing it over to God to sign.
Sound familiar to anyone?
Have you ever found yourself in a place in which God begins peeling back layers and layers of idolatry and control that you never even knew existed? Hugh and I have pretty much camped out there for the past five years. Yet, time after time, God has (and continues to) graciously break us of this self-centered mentality.
In this current season, we are months away from bringing home our seven-year-old son from China. This was totally not our plan. Almost three years ago, we started the domestic adoption process fully confident that the Lord had a baby for the Cheek family. After several no’s, a couple yes’s-turned-no’s, God made it abundantly clear that a part of our heart spoke Mandarin. Now, one of the reasons we specifically decided on adopting domestically is because of our girls. We can barely leave them for more than one night, much less two weeks. Logically, it just doesn’t make sense.
But God. Always but God. He patiently yet firmly has revealed to us that His ways and thoughts are so “other” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
My heart is quite the slow learner, yet God continually gives me the grace to see His goodness- even when I can’t see the road ahead and I lack the ability to step out in faith.
Never me, always Him. Why? Because He is steadfast.
When God spoke to Moses from a burning bush (quite the entrance!), God asked Moses to be His mouthpiece and to let the Israelites know that He, God, was going to deliver them from their affliction. Moses had a lot of excuses. Who am I to do such a thing? Who should I say sent me?
God’s response? I will be with you (Exodus 3:12). I am Who I am (14). God’s steadfast, never-changing nature made it possible for Moses to do that which would be humanly impossible.
The same reality has rung true for me; and the same is true for you.
In the past five years (really, let’s be honest, for my entire life!), my emotions have been all over the place. If I had waited for my feelings to equip me to care for our medically fragile twins, I would still be in a ball of anxiety and denial in the very doctor’s room where our story of differently-abled began. If I “went with my gut,” so to speak, on the logic of adopting a seven-year-old little boy from across the world in the midst of our already unpredictable, always challenging family dynamic, we would absolutely not be in a position of waiting to officially call him ours.
If any of us rely on “how we feel” on any given day to follow through in obedience, we are not going to get very far. Isn’t that what faith is, after all?
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:25)
I do not know much, but this I am confident of: the Great Comforter is worth more than any temporal comfort this world could offer. His eternal plans are greater than any to-do list man could ever write up. God’s purposes may take us down paths we never would have chosen on our own; yet, they are always paths we would choose if we could see life from His vantage point.
He is the unchanging, never-failing, always working, never-leaving, constantly-extending-grace, steadfast God—and He is worth it.
The One who gave us all is able to sustain us in the middle of any and all things. Even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when it seems illogical. Even when it’s entirely different than what we saw coming.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 138:8a)
To Him be all the glory.