By faith, not by sight
We are here to follow the Savior’s voice through the darkness of this chaotic world to heaven’s gates.
From the day we were married, life was “temporary.” Uncertain. Three more years until Call Day, and then our lives would start.
Tim was assigned. Maybe now, after three years, when we could settle into a home for more than one year . . . maybe now we would be blessed with a child. And our lives would start.
But after two more years of poking and prodding, heartache and uncomfortable questions, we felt ready to begin the adoption process. We completed the first application, wrote the first check, and just KNEW that “within an average of 18 to 30 months” we would be parents. And our lives would start.
We had been chosen, and she would be ours. We were humbled, grateful, and scared out of our minds. She had been born blind. We researched her diagnosis feverishly, scheduled specialist appointments, and set up Early Intervention services. We prepared to travel and counted the minutes until May 28. We knew—we just knew this time—that our lives were about to start.
Every spring brings a parade of anniversaries—the day we first held her in our arms, the day she was baptized, and so many more. This year we celebrate six years since the day that mountains of paperwork and years of frustrations gave birth to our sweet Elizabeth, seven months old. We would call her Libby. Finally we understood God’s plan completely. Finally all the twists and turns made sense. Right?
Things were idyllic that first year. Well, idyllic isn’t exactly the right word. We’re still talking about diapers and sleep deprivation and first-time parenting jitters. But it felt like a dream, and there were days that I physically felt gratitude washing over me. There were nights I would continue rocking her long after she was asleep, tears of disbelief drip-dropping onto her tiny footie pajamas. I remembered choosing this very pair as we registered for baby gifts, holding them up and wondering if such a tiny person could possibly exist. And now here she was, filling them out, breathing soundly in my arms as we rock, rock, rocked.
In those moments, it felt like God had gift-wrapped her and dropped her straight into my life, closing a chapter of questions and doubts with a flourish. I had spent so many years waiting for the next thing, a clearer picture, waiting to see God’s plan all wrapped up, neat and tidy. We just love a happy ending, don’t we?
Wanting to see God’s plan
Sometimes we wait patiently for God to show us his plans; sometimes we demand it.
What is the plan here, Lord? Why this? Why now? Why this illness? Why this hardship? Why this heartbreak? Why my family? Why my job? Why my bank account? What are you teaching me? Where are you leading me? How is this ever going to work for my good, as you have promised? Tell me, Lord. Show me your ways. Wrap it up; give me an “aha!” moment. Make it all clear to me. Show me the answers to the riddles of my life, and then I will tell everyone I know what great things you have done for me.
“This is it,” I thought back then. “My life has started. Now I know exactly why we were unable to conceive. Now I know why our adoption took precisely as long as it did. It was all about her. She was meant to be ours. Look at this amazing thing that God has done! Look how he has shown his wisdom and power!”
“Look at this beautiful girl of mine,” I still think to myself, pretty much every day. “Look how she learns, how she processes, how she touches hearts. Listen to her sing and play the piano. We daily learn so much from her. God is going to do amazing things through her. I can’t wait to watch the pieces fall into place, to see his plans carried out in her life.”
Am I wrong? Isn’t it possible that I do understand God’s plan? When I look back on how it all played out, it sure seems to make sense. And yes—his wisdom and almighty power—I can pretty confidently declare that these were fully displayed as he laid our family’s pieces into place in ways I could never have imagined. Am I wrong to wait in wonder about Libby’s future? About how her remarkable abilities, wrapped together with her unique delays and difficulties, will continue to develop and translate into her passions . . . her livelihood . . . her service to her Lord?
Simple answer: No.
Longer answer: Perhaps. My life, my family, my child, my dreams for her future, my questions, my praises for his powerful hand in my story—if these are the anchor of my faith, then, yes, I’m way off base. I’m entirely wrapped up in deciphering clues like my life is some great earthly scavenger hunt for a little box wherein he answers all my burning questions. I want clarity, certainty, and to be comfortable. I want to walk by sight.
Trusting where God leads you
I am forgetting that he has shown his plan—the only plan I need to know. This plan of salvation was written before eternity. “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship” (Galatians 4:4,5).
We aren’t here to feel comfortable. This world, since the very day sin entered it, promises none of that. We aren’t here to have our questions answered. We are here to “live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). We are here to follow the Savior’s voice in humble obedience through the darkness of this chaotic world. Let him lead you to the place he has prepared for you. Tune out the distractions and discomforts. Better yet, praise him for them! These are the things that fix our tired, desperate eyes heavenward.
At times, we appear foolish and naïve. We trust, like Abraham preparing to sacrifice his only son or like Noah building an ocean liner in the desert. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5,6).
There are a lot of dreams for Libby’s future that bring tears to my eyes. I hear it’s a “mom thing.” The older we get, the prouder they make us, the more we cry. At some point I’ll just be crying nonstop and dressing in a water-resistant poncho. But the biggest and brightest dream—the one that can dissolve me in a heartbeat—is when I think of the day she will enter heaven’s gates. Here on earth, she walks with a white cane, cautiously, darkness all around her. On that day that her eyes are finally opened, the very first thing she will ever see is her Savior’s face. And she will run—leap!—into his waiting arms.
That is the answer to every one of my questions for her future. That is the purpose of my life—to teach her, guide her, and lead her to Jesus, in whom everything becomes clear.
Megan Redfield is a member at Trinity, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
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Author: Megan Redfield
Volume 105, Number 5
Issue: May 2018
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