Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8
Sometimes I don’t like what God does.
Sometimes I can’t taste the sweetness, because of the hint of bitterness in the heart lesson.
I don’t like when He calls me to something and then makes me wait.
I don’t like when I’m in one country and my baby is waiting in another.
I don’t like when governments get between me and my adoption.
I don’t like when Gotcha Day is less perfect, less easy, than I thought it would be.
I don’t like when being “newly home” is harder than I expected.
I don’t like when my-already been through too much- medically complex warrior, faces more.
I don’t like when my child questions where her birthmother is.
Adoption can push the limits of how good we think God is. We can start to wonder if He’s fully good all the time, in all things.
We begin the application process spilling over with hope, anticipation and purpose. And then, somewhere along the way, we start feeling the stretch. We start having doubts, obstacles, longings and hurts. We realize adoption is not easy. That the redemption of hearts comes at great cost. We’d long heard that it’s not “for the faint of heart”, but suddenly faint is exactly how our hearts feel.
The journey reframes our thinking, teaching us its deep and wide lessons. Some lessons settle into our hearts sweet and easy. Others take longer to embrace. And some. Some are only learned from days strung together pleading from our knees.
We tend to love success stories, speedy, positive results and miracle turn arounds. We prefer happy endings. And when we get what we hope for, on the timeline we prefer, we tell each other, “God is good.”
When we hear good news, we proclaim it. Under Gotcha Day photos, friends comment, “God is good.” When a little patient gets good medical test results, “God is good.”
But what about when endings are hard, or we don’t get what we want? When the timeline we drafted doesn’t match our reality? When a child’s medical needs are more extensive than the file promised? When attachment doesn’t come naturally? When the adoption community loses a little life that we’ve all battled for in prayer. Do we type, “God is good” then?
When we don’t like what is in the cup we’ve been given, we wonder if God truly is good.
There have been many times on this adoption trek, when circumstances felt bleak, that I’ve wondered if “good” meant all the time, for everybody. A few times I allowed myself to consider whether or not I would still think God good if the adoption didn’t happen, or the surgery had complications. When I wondered why a good God wouldn’t clear the world’s orphanages of its waiting children. And post adoption, when so many special needs little people come home with miraculously cured hearts, or are healed after one surgery, but mine had to keep battling, I felt a little greedy annoyance by the “God is good” posts.
And if not, He is still good. Daniel 3:18
Since my fleshy feelings don’t always align with my faith, I’m learning to lead my heart. Learning that when I’m raw and unraveled by adoption and parenting high need little people, I need to speak, write, read, sing and meditate on the truths I can’t always feel.
You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:68
So I can question His promise and character, or I can open my clinched palms and accept that He is good, and His work is good. I can let go of my expectations, efforts, timing and struggling. I can look beyond my adoption and parenting challenges, and remind myself of the profound truth. He’s always at work, and it’s always good.
Adoption sings His name, all the time, in its beauty and in its stretching. Both the bitter and the sweet are saturated with His goodness.
When He overwhelms us with miracles, He’s good.
When we are called to wait, He’s good.
When adoption realities don’t match the picture we painted in our heads, still good.
When the little souls we parent are hurting, even still.
He is good. Let’s make that the cadence that we train our hearts to beat to.
1. right, proper fit
2. morally excellent, righteous, virtuous
3. satisfactory in quality, quantity or degree
4. of high quality
5. kind, beneficent, friendly
6. honorable or worthy
*special thanks to Tish Goff for the photos