Have you ever wondered what drives individuals to race around “Tornado Ally” attempting to capture that perfect photo or footage of nature’s raw power of destruction? Often times deliberately placing themselves fearlessly (or thoughtlessly) in path of that menacing force. I am sure there is a very real adrenaline rush, I almost feel a rush watching in comfort of my living room. Certainly, not something that I aspire to DO! Though the scenes they capture are amazing to watch! Some how this second adoption journey has almost made me feel like a storm chaser – like Sharon and I have been inviting fate! Have we (I) been guilty?
A few months ago I posted a blog about the speed bumps of life and reflected on how they can be, and I believe often are, God’s way of slowing us down to get our attention. The last few weeks I have come realize that was really an over simplification. Because life is not just peace and bumps. That is like saying life is like maple walnut ice cream! Meaning life is a blend of positive and not so positive experiences!
Let me explain. I really like maple ice cream but really do not enjoy walnuts! I can politely consume them under duress, but I find them so bitter and hard to swallow. Even the thought of them makes me cringe! And by the way Ukraine has probably the freshest and best I have ever tasted but I am sorry, I have to pass. You can always have my portion!
Where am I going with this? Well Jesus in John 16:25-33 speaks plainly with the disciples trying to reassure them of the Father’s love as He begins to prepare them for his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. In fact He says “I am telling you this so that you might have PEACE IN ME”. But then He seems to undo everything with this statement, “In this world you will have tribulation. . .” What reassurance and peace comes with knowing that!
In the Greek word for tribulation, the sense is NOT WALNUTS OR UNPLEASANT TASTE – BUT TRIBULATION (thlipsin). Thlipsin refers to major life challenges, not just a superstore parking lot stop sign or speed bump seemingly arbitrarily placed to annoy me. In fact Jesus is referring to life events of significant severity and sacrifice that loss of life or other major calamity. Jesus is referring to the potential for major life crisis. He doesn’t want us to be alarmed or come undone if or when this happens. Because this is not the end . . . He says “take heart be encouraged because I have over come the world”. Jesus is in control : He is the Way Maker. And continues to make the way through what has been a very difficult and complicated process.
Upon our arrival to complete this our second adoption – Jesus’s second leading to Ukraine for Sharon and I – there have been a variety of surprises (to use the words of our adoption facilitators). The logistics of adopting 8 siblings has been a daunting task for them to whom we are very grateful for their expertise and tenacity and patience with us.
What was supposed to be a simple revision of birth certificates, application for passports and visas has been complicated by the revision of national ID cards for the two oldest prior passport application. COVID-19 quarantine locked us in Ukraine for what looked like the duration: It wasn’t. Read about another miracle in a future post! The support provided by the local baptist church was so appreciated. The enthusiastic backing of our church family and friends in Canada is nothing like I have ever witnessed let alone ever experienced before.