There is a picture of my husband and I – and I don’t like it. We have smiles on our faces, but we are tired, scared, and jet lagged. Behind us hangs a Chinese flag. It was taken in the middle of a government office in Zhengzhou, China in 2015. We had finished fifteen months of the adoption process and felt like we were crossing the finish line. We were happy, but also there were questions. Our daughter’s medical needs were much more severe than we had anticipated. Behind our smiles we wondered what life really had in store for us.
The picture marks the beginning of a very long journey and the end of an equally long journey. We had just finished what we thought was the end of the adoption process. We would soon find out it was only the warm-up round. We are still running the track of adoption. Each year is a lap. And the first year was the hardest most painful lap of our lives.
It almost broke us. Our marriage was almost ripped apart. Even five years later, I can say we’ve not faced a year like that year. In this picture we are holding our daughter. Our sweet, funny, incredibly smart daughter looked glazed and in shock. She probably was. Our daughter sits on our laps while we smile for the official picture. I don’t recognize anyone in that picture. If I could see inside both my daughter’s and my heart I suspect we were both feeling the same thing.
I imagine she didn’t trust these two people holding her. They smelled funny, dressed funny, and talked funny. Inside of my heart I didn’t trust either. I didn’t trust God in that moment. And in the moments following. For a whole year of my life I questioned everything about God. Was He really good? Did He really speak to me? Does He really care about me? Looking back I think it’s good I asked the questions. As hard as they were, they led me to the answers. Yes, He is so incredibly good. Yes, He did tell us to adopt. Yes, I cannot measure His care for me.
How to Ask God Questions
At first I thought I didn’t have faith and didn’t trust God when I asked the questions. Friend, I’m here to tell you faith and trust are a choice. You can ask the hard questions and still believe. Mary and Martha in John 11 asked Jesus some hard questions. They didn’t doubt Him, but they asked questions. I think we can do the same friend. I think we can ask God the hard questions and still choose to trust Him. Drawing near to God during our times of loneliness means we can trust Him even when we have questions.
Loneliness tells us we have to have answers. Sometimes we just don’t have answers to why. Can I encourage you today, though, that drawing near to God might not mean you get your answers? You might get something better than answers! You might get to see the heart of God. You might be drawn so fully into who God is and see even more clearly how much He loves you, even without answers.
Moses didn’t always have the answers to his questions either. Moses might have seen some of God’s actions and felt they were “unfair.” But in the end, Moses realized God was his dwelling place. The world will always hold disappointment, but drawing near to God means we trust Him even when we don’t understand.
God has shown up for us not to simply give us answers, but to give us Himself. If your questions are about God’s character, rest assured you will find the truth. If your questions are about what is going on in your life, you might feel confused. Instead, we can learn to look beyond our circumstances to the hand and heart of God. Dwelling with God means we trust Him. We don’t have to understand, or feel good about everything in our life. We are allowed to be angry and sad and disappointed. Let me say that again. You are allowed to feel angry and sad and disappointed. Life is not meant to be comfortable, but we can be comforted when we draw near to God. Choose to trust, friend. He will prove Himself faithful. He will give you strength. He is enough.
Can we still praise God if we were stripped of everything? Thanksgiving is not only about what God does for us but all God is for us. Friend, there are lots of things God does for us for which we can give thanks. I mean He does so much! Salvation, listens to our prayers, and provides our needs. We can give Him thanks for all of these things, but I believe there is more.
As I reflect back on this year I want to remember all God is instead of thinking about what He’s done. Yes, I am thankful for all God has given me and done for me, but I want to be thankful for just simply who He is! Will you join me? For the next fourteen days let’s read verses in the Bible that remind us of God’s character and spend some time rejoicing in our God who is beyond compare! Download the free PDF here!