By Your Side

Back several years ago—five or six, I think—my family began the process of adoption. We had already adopted three children from South Korea, but God had laid it on our hearts to adopt again. My other three siblings that we adopted were all around the age of one when they came home. This adoption would be different, however—we would have newborns in the house again and we were adopting from in-country. Rarely have I ever been as excited as I was throughout this adoption process. I wanted a baby sibling so badly and it seemed to all of us that God was leading down this path. Then the adoption fell through.

Just under three years ago, my dad was a pastor of a church. Like every church, it had its strengths and weaknesses, but we enjoyed it there. I had many friends and had been through a spiritually bumpy part of my life, but was emerging out of that time stronger spiritually than I had been before. Life was good. Then, through a painful series of events, the church turned against my dad and our family (without just cause) and essentially kicked us out. We then had to sell our house and move, but we had nowhere to go. We traveled around New York for 5-6 months without a home. I was shattered.

I know you are not that interested in my life to want to know these things. They are nice stories, but they seem to have sad endings that don’t quite go with the theme of God’s faithfulness, which is what this article is supposed to be about.

I leave off at this point in these stories (which are both true in every single regard) because this is likely where you are as a person. You know God is working in and through your life. You trust that He has a marvelous plan for you, but when you look at things it doesn’t make sense. We talked about in this month how God is sovereign, and so I’m not going to spend much time reiterating that God has a perfect plan. What I can offer you right now is comfort in the uncertainty through the hope of Jesus Christ and His faithfulness.

There is a story that I have heard many places, in which a man looks back on his life and sees footprints in the sand. At some places, there are two pairs of footprints, while at others there is just one pair of footprints. The man asks God, “God, why did you leave me at those times?”

God replies, “I did not. Those were the times when I picked you up and carried you.”

This story may be cliché, but it speaks to me; because I look back on my life and see many places where God has never left me, even when I’ve betrayed Him or asked unfair questions of Him or been angry at Him. In fact, it seems that it is those times that He comes the closest.

There is one verse that has been stuck in my head over the past year or so.

Jeremiah 31:3b says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (emphasis mine).

God loves me. He loves me yesterday when I was angry, today when I’m prideful, and tomorrow when I forget what He’s done for me and become self-centered. He loves me at my high points and at my low points. He not only loves me, but He has chosen to be by my side through thick and thin.

Life doesn’t end in the valley.

45 days ago we received a call from an adoption agency. There is a little girl in a hospital four hours away, they said. She has some health complications, but would you like her? In five days, I have a little baby sister finally coming home from the hospital. Over five years later, I have a baby sister. It was not my choice in timing, nor was it what we were expecting, but God is faithful. And His timing is perfect. Life doesn’t end in the valley.

Two weeks ago, I went to a middle school play. The reason I went was because I work at an after-school program for grades K-5. This is my second year working there, so now all my fifth graders from last year are in sixth grade and over at the middle school. One of them is a kid that I love to pieces and she invited me to go see her middle school play. As I sat there, I looked around in the audience and noticed about ten to fifteen people that I knew. If God had not moved me from Illinois to New York (all around New York, to be exact), I would never know these kids. God is faithful and His timing is perfect. Life doesn’t end in the valley.

Life doesn’t end in the valley, my friends. God is faithful. Always.

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