Thursday, 8 December 2011
When God doesn’t come quickly
You’re in Africa. You’ve been here more than four weeks. Four weeks, in a country that you love, in a place you couldn’t wait to get back to. You’re adopting. She’s gorgeous and sparkly and fun and will make a great baby of the family. You’re smitten (and no one is more surprised than you).
Also, it’s been four weeks away from your boys and three weeks away from your husband. You’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting and yesterday, finally got the news: You can go home next week. You’ll celebrate homecoming right at the six-week mark.
Every friend and relative is cheering — but you’ve been stuck in this sadness for two days now. It’s not about having to leave. It’s about having to stay.
It’s about solo parenting and being sick of it and the new daughter being actually sick and crying all day with no husband, no friends and no family around to make the load lighter, to tell you it’s OK to turn on a movie or take a break or take a shower. It’s about her being inconsolable with you, and then giving hugs and snuggles and sparkly smiles to everyone else. And you know it’s part of her journey, part of finding her way to you as Mama at the end, but you have no backup here, no reminders, no compassion for the struggle it awakens in you.
It’s about finally going to get your exit date and instead of 3 days later, it’s 10.
It’s about God saying “Just wait and see what I’ll do,” and then you wait and wait and then, he doesn’t show.
Or you don’t see him the way you thought you would. Or you see others who got the miracle, the fast timing instead of delays, and you wonder if they stepped in and got the blessing and it passed over you.
And then you wonder if the “what I’ll do” is more delays, more expense, more time when you’re already homesick, and you can’t see why, not at all.
You consider that maybe it isn’t about you, maybe it’s a miracle you can’t see, and so you ask and pray for opened eyes, for a way to see what he has for you while you’re here, you pray the time won’t be wasted. And then you sit at the guest house all day and read books and watch TV episodes to pass the (never-ending, African) time. You go on outings just to buy some candy and real Coke just for something to do. You eat too much, your old vice following you here.
And you just don’t get it. Everything is fuzzy. The lessons that came so focused and complex on your last two trips to Africa are somewhere beyond your reach.
Because you’ve been there when God brings you all the way to Africa to change your heart, to tear down walls you didn’t know were holding you in, to teach you something you couldn’t have learned elsewhere. But this time, you’re trying to figure out why there’s less epiphany and more tedium, boredom, loneliness.
You beg him to show you what you’re supposed to be learning, but he’s quiet, even here, in a place he’s never been quiet with you before.
You consider that maybe his silence is showing you the way.
It’s easier to do for God than to just be. Than to just sit and know that he is God. Than to just accept your belovedness, even when you feel far away from him, even when you feel like he’s left you in Africa for no good reason.
Maybe you’ll never know why. It burns and there is no answer that you can see.
On your first trip to Africa, he brought you to the end of yourself and to the beginning of trust. And you consider that this is trust, too.
That trust looks like believing He is in the silence, too. That he can see the big picture when maybe you never will. That even if he hasn’t ordained this extra time (and who can know?), he will use it. For silence, for doing, for being, for anything.
And so: You get quiet. You look for the miracle you will see or not. You take lessons on being from the beautiful souls around you. You consider that if God can give you strength to love well tomorrow, that will be enough.