“How long has it been now?”
“Four years…” I say, bracing for the reaction I know is to come.
“Oh wow. Keep trusting in God’s timing!”
There it is…
I smile and nod, “MmHmm!”
Countless: that is how many times I’ve had this conversation.
It’s not that it isn’t true. Is God’s timing always perfect? Yes. Is He ever late? No. Do we learn much in seasons of waiting? Yes.
Yet while this is true, and all of us who are believers can rest in God’s ultimate sovereignty over all things, there still exists a struggle that I don’t think many Christians are even aware of, at least not those who have entered in to the trenches of warfare.
There is a reality that exists here that we don’t often like to acknowledge. We are a practical people, unenchanted, demystified, and intelligent. We chock all unexplained seasons of wait to “God’s timing” and don’t consider a spiritual reality, one that is at war every day for our souls.
When we were in Haiti with our son, I experienced an unseen feeling of darkness. This darkness seemed to cover the land, thought the landscape took my breath away with its beauty. It felt heavy…yet, in the midst of this, I felt protected. As if there were angels hovering over us wherever we went. I could sense the darkness, but it could not touch me. I CLUNG to the Lord for DEAR LIFE. Every moment of every day I was in prayer, an open line to the heavens, constantly asking for God’s protection. When we left our son at the orphanage each night, we prayed that angels would guard over him and God would grant him safety and protection over the things we could not see.
Psalm 91:11 – For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
Before this, if I would have heard this story from someone, I might have rolled my eyes and giggled at the believer who thought there were demons lurking behind every bush. Yet I feel my eyes have been opened to the spiritual realm that exists.
I think all will be revealed to us in time, but we as believers might be shocked at the spiritual battle that was fought for our children to come home where adoption is concerned. Satan knows He will ultimately lose, but that doesn’t stop him from creating delay, administering fear, doubt, discouragement, bitterness, and worst of all….despair. He enjoys the ease of his victory especially with Americans, who are too demystified and comfortable to believe in real spiritual warfare.
Neither Satan nor his legions of demons want to see God’s will accomplished. They do not want to see people walking out their lives in submission and obedience to Christ. They do not want to see the orphan claimed by God, or the widow taken care of, or the oppressed freed from chains. They are working to delay what is good and right, and desire for hatred and evil to flourish. So we enter into this battle and pray our guts out. We pray that the angles of the Almighty continue to push back the darkness, that we would not despair, and that we would not fall asleep, but be vigilant, on guard, and at the ready.
Ephesians 6:12 – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
We can bury our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist, and enjoy our comforts: our comfortable church pew, our comfortable home, our play, our food, our busy and distracting lives. We can use Christianese to explain why an adoption from Haiti takes so long, and think that’s all there is to it. “Trust in His timing,” BAM! Nailed it.
Or, we can take off our blinders, dress for battle, and enter into the war that is at hand. We can climb down into the trenches and sit on our knees in prayer, pleading on behalf of the orphan. Pray so hard that your knees shake, your nose drips with snot, and your face is drenched with tears. Do not be fooled, there is nothing more powerful than the prayer and tears of the saints, crying out to God in one voice, asking Him to unleash His power to push back the darkness. And there is nothing more damaging than the believer who doesn’t believe the war is at hand, and therefore does nothing but speaks “Chrisianese” without ever experiencing raw and bloody knees.
Oh lovely, sweet, well-meaning Christian brothers and sisters, please stop telling me to trust in God’s timing. While trusting in God is so true and so paramount, I beg you to prayerfully consider if this is helpful. Get in the muddy trenches with me. Bleed with me. Cry out in prayer with me for my son to come home. Hold my hand with your bloody knuckles and tear-stained face, lift my weary arm around your shoulders and THEN say to me, “God is with us, and we MUST keep trusting.”