God’s Whisper

As we journey through each day of the Advent season, we’ve gathered special stories from Lifeline families, staff, and friends to share with you, testifying to how the hand of the Lord and the Character of Christ have been magnified through their children and in their families…

As one who became a follower of Christ at a young age, I’ve always looked at Christmas-time as a grand celebration complete with twinkling lights and an adoration of the Nativity as the holiday’s focus. Much like my young faith, Christmas was simple. As I’ve grown both in stature and in faith, the struggles to truly own the complicated parts of my faith in Christ have become very real. Our family’s growth through adoption has been one of those singular moments (or years) of spiritual wrestling that has required us to grab tightly to truth of Christ and not let go despite the waves that have tossed us around.

My husband and I brought our son home in March 2013. He’s a generally healthy child, but there are lifetime issues that we will manage in addition to many one-time procedures that he’s needed to ensure as normal a life as possible. Except for that one-time procedure that has turned into a three-time procedure. And that surprise surgery. And that time that he broke his arm a week after surgery on the opposite arm, resulting in two simultaneous casts.

I started to get angry. I got angry at God because He wasn’t helping my son the way I wanted. I was angry because He could heal and chose not to. Fully believing in the sovereignty of God made it easy to place blame on Him. My wrestling became clear when I couldn’t connect God’s sovereignty and His goodness. I mistrusted Him when He didn’t act the way I wanted Him to. But, faith does not need understanding to thrive.

In His gracious way, God lovingly whispered to me, “Joshua is your son and is firmly grafted into your family, but he belongs first to me. His story is my story, and you must trust me to bring glory to me through his life, however that may be.”

The same way that my life is not my own, my child is not my own. He is God’s child before he is mine. That means that however God works in his life is what is best. God is sovereign, but He is also good. This journey of motherhood has been a time of messy spiritual growth for sure, but it provides the perspective I need to teach Joshua that his life is for God’s glory, not his mama’s comfort.

I’m sure that this is something that Mary had to learn through Jesus’ life. On the first Christmas, as she pondered all of the wonderful things of that night, did she know what His life fully entailed as the Savior? Perhaps not. But, over thirty years later, as she looked at Him hanging on the cross, she knew that His life was for God’s purpose. That had also been Jesus’ prayer on the night of His arrest: “Not my will but yours be done.” Jesus’ birth at Christmas was for His death (and resurrection) at Easter.

This Christmas as I watch my son embrace the mesmerizing lights of the season and hear the story of Jesus over and over again, I am reminded of what his adoption has so clearly magnified to my soul: Christ’s sovereignty and goodness weave together the circumstances of our lives to give us solidarity in purpose as we glorify God through His will and not ours.

Jenny Riddle