God had my attention, that’s for sure.
That song? Put up two weeks in a row as the first song? By different leaders? It’s not even that popular of a song any more.
I didn’t know what he wanted yet, but I felt like I’d been put on “high alert.” And oddly emotional. (That’s an unusual occurrence for some of us.)
As that song played, even before it was through, someone from the front row, one of the volunteer leaders/starters of our group, got up and said she wanted to read something from the Word that had just come to mind. I can’t recall clearly if she was reading from a Bible or just quoting the phrases about adoption, but the passage reads in The Message like this:
Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!)
What’s going on? Tears? Weird.
Then the girl next to Tammy stood up. She’s someone we’ve talked to before, but not often; she and her husband were at a cookout we went to last year, but we’ve never sat next to one other or talked for very long. She said:
“I don’t know who this is for, but the Lord just put on my heart the words: ‘Pray about the adoption.’ And I don’t know if there is anyone here who is in the process of adoption, or thinking about adoption, but if you are, we would like to gather around you and support you and pray for you.”
No, no… this isn’t…you can’t be…
What? More tears?
Tammy’s face had that just-swallowed-a-betta-fish look, so I stared ahead instead.
It’s me. She’s talking about me. YOU are talking to her about me. Aren’t you? You’re answering TAMMY’S prayer instead of mine, aren’t you? I cannot believe this.
The first sister stood up again, and joined in the encouragement: “We’re going to keep singing, but don’t miss this chance. We want to stand with you.” Something like that. I don’t really remember what she said, I just knew—I was reeling from the fact that I knew—it was me.
So I stood, tiptoed to the front and whispered as much to our friend: “It’s me.”
I didn’t have anything else to say. This isn’t what I had planned for my life. Not like I had super-clear plans—that wouldn’t be like me—but they were clear enough to know they weren’t this.
Yet there we stood, hand-in-hand at the front, Tammy by my side.
She grabbed Haddie’s hand, too, and so she joined us while friends started gathering around us. Tammy whispered to me, “I’ll go get Enoch” and started walking toward him on the other side of the room before I could save her the trouble. He would enthuse more about sipping from the toilet bowl than he would about joining us for public weepy-time with peers looking on. (Tammy appeared alone back at my side momentarily.)
And that was it.
That was my beginning. That’s what happened to me.
I was asked a few days later if we’d finalized our decision, to which I replied, “What decision?” It’s not like there was a trial period, some number of days I was taking to mull it over, having a debate with myself. The decision had been made in the meeting. Though it hadn’t been mine, it was crystal clear. The only decision I’d made was to stand up.
Which was, considering what a shock the whole thing was, pretty easy to do. Because I’ve disobeyed enough times in the past to have figured out by now that when God goes to the “trouble” of making something that obvious (again, another pretty unusual occurrence for me), there’s only one thing to be done. It would be better for me to take off a foot with a sawn-off than go all stiff-necked on him.
Do you know, though, what the real shock is?
(I’m guessing some of you are already guessing where this is going, because you’ve experienced similar.) You hit a rough patch in your life where you’ve become absolutely desperate to hear God speak? And then he does? It’s amazing how what he’s said can almost fade to the background in comparison to your joy that he has spoken. That alone brings Peace That Passes Understanding.
I never wanted this, God! We can’t handle this!
It’s true, I really didn’t. We really can’t.
Only now, I do want it. And we can can handle it.
Because I trust him.
It’s the only way My Beginning could have ever come: I know I can trust him.
I’m gonna say it’s like being (though I’m guessing here—even if these guys were real, they’ve never been interviewed) one of Alexander the Great’s men standing on the cliff edge as he says “march.” Except as your terrified foot hits air and the tumble towards earth picks up speed…you’re not afraid of the bottom. Somehow—though you’re the last person on earth who could say exactly how—you know things are going to work out.
You know the Sovereign.
And not only of earth’s greatest army.
Of Earth itself.
That’s a cliff I’m gonna leap off with a smile on my face every time, even if I do have to shut my eyes at first.