We have an Orphan Care jar that sits atop our microwave.
We deposit our leftover change in it all year long, and in years past, we have donated that money to the designated orphan initiative at Ninth and O Baptist’s VBS. Our kids are always super excited to see how much we’ve accumulated over the year, and are so proud to carry that jar in all together to give. This year though, they approached us with a different initiative in mind. They wanted to give it to us for our adoption of their brother, Silas James. At first we said, “No way! You guys always give that money to Ninth and O!” But they were adamant that they wanted it to go toward Silas, and we quickly realized that we were stealing their joy in being able to give it to what they wanted it to go toward.
Just yesterday, I put a $20 bill in the jar. It was the first of many monies to be paid for some sold items that were donated to us to sell for our adoption. I looked at the $20 bill and pondered how that small $20 was going to have to somehow multiply into thousands upon thousands of dollars. Doubt filled my heart. But the Lord began to impress upon my remembrance the story of the fishes and loaves. And I, like Andrew, questioned the Lord.
“Lord, there is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
“Lord, there is a family here who has a meager bit of change and a $20 bill, but what is that among so much still needed?”
In the story, the Lord goes on to have the people sit, He breaks the bread, gives thanks to the Father, and the amazed (and surely humbled) disciples attest that, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world”.
The rest of *our* story spills over into today. We have for several weeks now planned to attend an adoption conference in Elizabethtown. We knew they were intending to award ten adoption grants to pre-adoptive families and we had applied with the hope that we would somehow be one of those chosen families. Upon arriving at the conference, we quickly realized that much of the topics being touched on pertained to families that had not yet experienced adoption, and we began to wonder if we had made the right choice in coming. But we set our hearts aright in believing that perhaps the Lord had some other purpose in mind for us at this conference. Maybe we weren’t supposed to be there to be educated as much as we were to be encouragers and supporters of others’ journeys. Right before the lunch break, the lady that was officiating the conference saw me sitting alone (Rick had headed to the restroom) and struck up a conversation with me. She asked if I was enjoying the conference. I thanked her for all the time and effort she had put into orchestrating something of that magnitude. She asked if I was an adoptive parent, and I said yes, and told her about the girls’ adoption last year and the hope of bringing Silas home by the end of this year. A look of recognition came over her face and she asked, “Wait…aren’t you one of our grant applicants?” I got a little bit excited and said, “YES!” She asked me my name and when I told her, she began to explain how the process of whittling down the candidates from 50 families to 10 was excruciating…how each family was so deserving, and they wished they had enough money to award to all the worthy families. I realized in my heart…”Oh no! She’s trying to let me down easy! She’s explaining why she wanted to give us a grant, but couldn’t.” I was so deflated. It was almost mine and Rick’s sole topic over lunch…processing the let-down of a hoped-for grant that was not to be.
After lunch, we mailed off some items that we’d sold for Silas’s adoption, and then headed back to the church building for the remainder of the conference. We sat through two more sessions, both of which were excellent and well worth the drive and time spent listening. Then it was time for the grant presentations. They called up the first of the ten families, then the second. I was busy filling out my survey…things I thought they’d done well, and things that I felt could be improved for next year’s Adoption Summit. Then suddenly…I HEARD MINE AND RICK’S NAMES! And I couldn’t believe it! Rick and I both looked at each other incredulously….we had been CHOSEN!!! We walked up in a fog of disbelief and tears. She handed me the microphone and I remember having the quick, panicked thought of, “No! I don’t speak publicly!’ But when I tried to hand the microphone to Rick, he had tears running down his face and was waving off the microphone mouthing, “I can’t speak!” I put the microphone up to my lips and the words began to gush out…unrehearsed words, but words that were easy to form. Words of gratitude to that church for choosing us…words of shock, awe, and thankfulness to God for what He had done. I had doubted Him just the day before…and the very next day, He dropped a $2,000 grant into our unbelieving and undeserving laps.
He multiplied our meager fish and loaves.
The decision to say yes to adoption always begins one on a journey so full of faith and dependence, that we can scarcely look at the whole picture without being consumed with doubt. We must take it a piece at a time, lest we take our eyes off the One that was able to turn five loaves and two small fish into enough to feed thousands of hungry people with plenty of baskets left over. He’s also the One that has multiplied that $20 bill and some superfluous change into $2,000 in a single day!
“I will bless the Lord at all times; HIs praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”