WHAT I WOULD'VE ASKED FOR

Saturday, May 31, 2014

"God will only give us what we would've asked for if we knew everything he knows."

I recently came across this quote by the author Tim Keller. It wouldn't be fair for me to keep writing without telling you that I pounded the "close" button on my kindle reader app after finishing the sentence. I like to think that statement is true, but while I'm living in a moment of impossible heartache if feels anything but true.  

I would never ask for a child to be orphaned. I would never ask for a child to be named my son, but isolated from our family. I would never ask to deal with the political drama of an exit letter. I would never ask for my son to be allowed to bond and attach to me so I could walk out on him. I would never ask for him to be diagnosed with treatable medical conditions knowing the procedures and drugs would be withheld. I would never ask for him to be plagued with fear and confusion. Yet, this is exactly where I find myself tonight. Wondering what perspective I could possibly find that would demand these requests. 

But maybe that's just it. Maybe those requests are too much for my soul to bear, so God doesn't ask me to make them. Instead, he allows them to happen knowing that they will work together for good. That sounds so absurd. As I sit here in the dark, soft wind rustling the trees, lively music from a car stereo drifting through the night air, I wonder if I'm delusional. 

And just like that, the ring of the bell, requesting entry into the compound, I'm brought back to reality. The reality that I do not know what comes next through the gate. In that moment of hesitation, my sanity returns as someone familiar makes an appearance. It's Patrick. (say pat-rique in a lovely french accent) The man who tends to this property as if it were his own child. He plans the gardens and cares for the flowers. He trims the lawns and reorders misplaced rocks. When I first arrived in October, I was perplexed to find him hunched over in the corner of the property every day. For a week straight, he would pluck apart tufts of grass creating tiny new plants. When he gathered enough, he would bunch them together and plant perfectly aligned little rows. He would water them and check on them without fail. Today, nearly eight months later, there is a thick patch of lush grass spilling over the retaining wall, no sign of such humble, belabored beginnings. 

Today is one of those days spent wondering why I'm still sitting in the corner plucking lifeless tufts of grass. Wondering how anything could possibly change by sowing one more row in a tired bed of weary soil. But because I've seen life come to Patrick's seemingly futile endeavor, I cling to hope. Because a car just pulled up with friends who received their promised letter, I cling to hope. Because I am not alone in this journey, I cling to hope. Because Jephté smiles, I cling to hope. 

For even if I spend the rest of my life hoping, I am choosing to trust that it is what God is giving to me because it is what I would've asked for if I could see the whole garden, the whole story, the grand scheme. If these requests are so outrageous, I can only imagine that all He knows and sees is so far beyond my comprehension and imagination, they are absolutely necessary to take me to where He wants me to go. This truth does not make this journey easy, but it does make it bearable.  
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