Finding Hope in the Midst of Adversity

pain and suffering

         This weekend I happened to read the story of an American couple that was adopting a child in Ukraine. It told of their story of getting out of the country and how they just barely got the adoption process finished. They were one of the lucky ones in the past couple of months. I have also read stories of American couples that didn’t get to adopt their new children. These families had hope that a new one to love would be brought into their homes. They had been anticipating having a new child. They had prepared their hearts to love a new one. They had prepared their homes for the addition to their family. And they had to return home alone, without their new child to an empty room (and for some an empty house). Anyone who would argue that this is nowhere near the same as losing a child to a miscarriage know nothing about the adoption process. These prospective parents just lost a child. The hope of a new family was shattered. These children had hope of actually having a mom and dad, brothers and sisters. These children had hope of living in a country where the political scene is not nearly as volatile as it is in Ukraine. These children had a hope of a life much better here in the States than what they now have in Ukraine. Their hope of a new life was shattered.

            It is in times like these that it is easy to say that these persons who were torn apart have a right not to hope. They have a right to be angry. They have a right to question what God is doing. They have a right to demand answers. They have a right to be discouraged, downtrodden, saddened, and even depressed. While I have never lost a child while trying to adopt, my wife and I did have a miscarriage. Most people don’t know that about us because we didn’t tell anyone what happened. No one knew that she was pregnant, she wasn’t showing yet, and was just a couple of months along. It was easy not to tell anyone yet. I look back on that time and have often wondered what they little one would have been like. I have often wondered what he/she would have been named. Even now, I get a little teary eyed thinking about it. So, when I tell you that I understand who those who have lost feel, I really do. I am one of those that lost. And I tell you this, it is really easy to say, “I have a right to be angry.”

It wasn’t until that happened that I began to understand the story of Job. No, I didn’t lose 10 children. But I did lose one. I looked at his story, and I understand at least on some level the pain he was feeling. His children were dead. His children he loved were dead. Nothing could bring them back to him. They were gone. And that is when it hit me. There was nothing he could do to bring them back. All the anger in the world would not bring his children back. All the sadness in the world could not bring his children back. He could question and doubt God until the cows come home and he still didn’t have the power to bring his children back from the dead.So what good does getting angry, or depressed, or hopeless do? It does no good. In fact, it does just the opposite. It does a whole lot of bad. Anger, depression, and hopelessness robs you of your strength and more importantly, it robs you of your faith. Job could have allowed the loss of his children destroy him. But he didn’t. Not because he was some sort of superman that could overcome. He didn’t allow it to destroy him because he trusted in God. He placed his hope there. Not in his kids. Not in his possessions, but in God.

My friends, I cannot pretend to know God’s will. I cannot know all the trials that you are undertaking. What I can know is that hope in God can get you through. Let me show tell you two others stories men who lost their children. In Gen. 22 Abraham was told that he would have to take his son, his only son, Isaac, whom he loved and sacrifice him upon the mountain that God would show him. Look again at that wording. It was Abraham’s son. His only son (Ishmael was already gone). Isaac, the son of promise. The son he loved. There was little doubt this would be an emotional experience for Abraham. And yet as we read the story Abraham didn’t seem to bat an eye. He took Isaac, laid him on the altar and was ready to sacrifice him when the angel of the Lord spoke to him. In Heb. 11:17-19 we read that Abraham reasoned that God could raise Isaac from the dead. Abraham was already convinced that Isaac was dead. In his heart, Isaac was as good as dead. His hope was set on God. God would make it okay. God would give Abraham what he would need to get through this difficult task. I can only imagine the relief that God provided when the ram was seen caught in the thicket. David also lost a child in II Sam. 12. As the child was sick David fasted, he mourned, and I imagine that he pleaded with God to have mercy on that child. But, the child died, just as David was told would happen. When David heard the news of his child’s death, he arose washed himself, and went and worshipped God. When his servant’s questioned David about what he was doing David said, “Now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me (II Sam. 12:23).” David knew there was nothing he could do to bring this child back. Mourning, fasting was useless. His hope was rooted in seeing his son again, not in this life, but in the next. It was this hope that enabled David to stand up, wash himself and worship his God. Take hope in this. Take encouragement in knowing that there is a place of comfort where the saved will see each other again!


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