Today was one of those rare and wonderful Sundays when the sermon at church addressed the exact topic that had been most prominent in my mind all week.
Since we decided to pursue Mikaela's adoption, I have been striving to find the balance between trusting God to provide all that we need for this adoption and continuing to bring my petitions before Him again and again. I have been thinking about verses that encourage God's people to "be still and know that [he is] God." Greg and I are constantly struck by how little our 18-month-old son trusts us in certain areas. When we all sit down together for a meal, Josiah immediately begins to ask us for his food. When we lay his silverware down so that we can feed ourselves, he asks urgently for his food again. If he can't see us actively preparing to put the next bite in his mouth, he begins to worry that we might not feed him any more. It doesn't matter to him that every day of his life, we have given him as much food as he has needed as soon as he has needed it. He still worries each meal that we might let him leave the table while he is still hungry. I know that we Christians have a tendency to do exactly the same thing to God. No matter how many times He provides for our needs, we start to worry if we are aware of a need and can't yet see Him preparing to meet that need for us. I have tried to be very careful to avoid this sort of a mindset as we wait for him to provide for Mikaela's adoption.
On the other hand, I don't want to take God's provision for granted in this (or any) area. It would be just as serious of a mistake to know that God will provide what we need and then to dismiss it from our minds. In many different passages, God encourages his people to ask Him for the desires of their hearts. I have thought many times this week about the parable of the woman and the unjust judge. She begs the judge for her needs so many times that He finally gives her justice in spite of his own wickedness. We are told to be as persistent as that widow when we ask God for things. How do I bring my requests to God again and again and again with out slipping into the childish tendency to wonder whether He will really meet our needs this time?
Our church has been working through the book of Hebrews, and today the sermon was about praying with confidence and commitment. There was little new information in the sermon, but it helped to solidify many of the things I already knew and to clarify the interaction between our trust in God and our repeated requests of Him.
One of the helpful points in the sermon today was on the importance of praise. That is one element of my prayers that tends to be weak, and has been particularly so over the last week or so. Most of my prayers have focused on Mikaela. Spending more of each prayer focusing on God, and His character and mighty works of the past will help give my prayers some of the balance I have been trying to find. Rather than dwelling on the significance of the need, I will try to focus on the power and goodness of God. I will still acknowledge the need and ask him to meet it, but I think this shift of emphasis will help.
I came away from church this morning more excited and encouraged than I have been in quite a while. I look forward to seeing His mighty works in this situation. I am more aware than ever before of what a privilege it is to participate in His works through the gift of prayer.
Greg and I are praying for a few things specifically in this adoption. We pray that there will never be a point during which the adoption is slowed down because of a lack of funds. We ask that God will provide everything we need for this adoption so that we do not need to incur any debt. We ask that God will keep Mikaela safe and healthy while she waits for us, and we ask that he would have her home safely by the end of April. Please join us in praying for these things and watch with us as God works in this situation.