Why doesn’t God just do what you think he should do when you think he should do it? Why do we have to wait? Why do things get worse before they get better? Why can’t God just swoop in and fix this right now?
As I was writing these questions this morning, God’s spirit immediately prompted me with this: God has! Countless times God has swooped in and fixed things before you even knew they needed fixing. Just yesterday he did miraculous things on your behalf you don’t even know about. You didn’t have to wait for it. It was immediate and it was perfect. So perfect you didn’t even notice. So first, let’s praise God for all he has done. Yes, before you even had time to come up with a solution on your own, God fixed the problem. Thank you God for your immeasurable grace over the details of my life. Thank you for your miraculous touch I’m not even aware of most of the time.
But some times, well some times, we wait. Some times the miracle doesn’t seem to come. Sometimes we sit and we watch as things go from bad to worse and there’s still no answer. What do we do with these times?
Whatever you’re going through, God has a purpose. Whatever you’re in the middle of right now, God’s good plans reach beyond this. And whatever you’re waiting for, God will do it in his divine timing, and when he does, it will be swift, it will be complete, and you will never be the same!
Isaiah was a prophet of God, meaning God spoke through him to deliver his messages to the people. Isaiah 60: 21-22, “Your days of mourning will come to an end. All your people will be righteous. They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with my own hands in order to bring myself glory. The smallest family will become a thousand people, and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.”
This is a letter to the Israelites who would face extreme hardships through slavery, captivity, exile, and wandering through deserts facing enemies far bigger and greater than them. And the promise was, THIS WILL COME TO AN END. AT THE RIGHT TIME, I, THE LORD, WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN.
And this is our promise today. Whatever you’re going through, whatever you’re facing, whatever you just want to run away from and make go away, God assures you THIS WILL COME TO AN END. When? At the right time. How? God will make it happen.
This day, August 31st, is remembered as one of the hardest days for our family. It went from an extreme high, to one of the lowest lows I’ve ever lived through. This was a day we had been waiting on for over 9 months. The day we were going to Mexico and bringing our little girls home from the orphanage. I had bought a special pink shirt that said “Daddy Loves Me”, and a purple shirt that said “Mommy Loves Me”. Our 7 year old son was wearing a “Proud Big Brother” shirt. We had been told by Mexico that today was the day to bring home our girls and we couldn’t drive our little white Mitsubishi across that border fast enough.
We arrived to the orphanage where a celebration was happening. All the children gathered around the little girls we were claiming as our own. We had grown to love all of these kids in our years volunteering there, but we knew these two little girls were chosen by God as ours. I had been dreaming of them since meeting them. Their little faces had filled my dreams for 9 months as we proceeded with the myriad of paperwork. Alexa was 5, wearing her “Mommy Loves Me” shirt. Paola was 4, wearing her “Daddy Loves Me” shirt. And when they got in our car with their single black trash bag holding everything they had, they knew their lives would never be the same.
They were going home.
They were ours.
This is the day everything would change.
Until we got to the border. At the border we discovered our attorney had not completed the immigration paper work, and we were turned away. No entry into the US meant total failure. Mission incomplete. The girls had fallen asleep in the car, assuming they would wake up at their new home, but instead they woke up to the bumpy dirt road leading back to the orphanage. And there, we would have to leave them.
As they’re clinging to us, crying, we were forced to hand them over and drive away, not knowing if this would ever be made right. They weren’t going home. They weren’t ours. And that day ended in utter defeat.
I’ll never forget watching 5 year old Alexa hyperventilate when she saw the orphanage again. I’ll never forget the saddest brown eyes you’ve ever seen cry tears weighted with sheer pain in 4 year old Paola. And I’ll never forget driving home that day with one child instead of three, and crying myself to sleep in the pristine purple bedroom that awaited the girls.
But this wasn’t the end of their story. Just like this isn’t the end of your story. This heartbreak comes to an end. This battle must cease. At the right time, God will make it happen. The problem is, we don’t know what God knows, so we don’t understand his timing.
With proper perspective on the hardest day for our family, we now see the time simply wasn’t right on August 31st. And there was divine reason why. You see, 5 year old Alexa was getting ready for her 6th birthday. At the orphanage, they had been teaching this scared and broken little girl how to trust in a great big God who loved her wildly. She had prayed one of her first prayers, and it was simply to have a family for her birthday. And here’s the thing, her birthday was September 7th. We were 1 week early.
After one week of hiring every attorney that would answer our call, and faxing hundreds of letters to every government official we could get a number for, we were granted special permission to go get our girls and bring them home. Just guess what day it was. Go ahead and guess. One week later, it was September 7th, Alexa’s 6th birthday. The little girl who had been abandoned. The little girl who had been hurt. The little girl who had been so scared and heart broken. The little girl who had hyperventilated the week before when she woke up back at the orphanage. Yes, that little girl was getting the family she had prayed for, and it was on her exact birthday.
Now, the time was right. Now, God himself made it happen. Now, our days of mourning had come to an end.
We pulled up to that orphanage in our white Mitsubishi like it was a white stallion, and we got our girls. We put their special little shirts on them once again, and we walked across that border into the US, to never return again. And on this day, they were going home. On this day they were ours. On this day everything would change. And there couldn’t have possibly been a better day.
How much sweeter is their story because of that hardest day ever? How much more glory does God receive because of that delay to ensure that 6 year old little girl received her birthday prayer ON her exact birthday?
It’s been 17 years. Little Alexa is now married with a perfect baby boy, and they live in Italy. But I still see the little girl hyperventilating in our car, returning her to the orphanage because she just didn’t understand God was working to give her the greatest birthday gift in just 1 more week. I’m still grateful God is so big and so loving that he allowed all of this to ensure she would always know he heard her very specific prayer, and he answered in the most perfect way.
I don’t know what you’re praying for, and I don’t know how much longer it will be for you. But I know for sure, God has heard your prayers and he intends to do something about it. And I know when God does something about it, it will be swift. It will be complete. It will be perfect. And God will get all the glory because you’ll look back and see only God could have done it.