Being Free From the Mindset That Obedience Equals Easy
I love a good doors-flinging-wide-open and waters parting story. In fact, I prefer them.
How quickly we fall into the trap that obedience to God’s calling on our lives equals easy. I mean, if God is for us, who can be against us, right?
Here's the thing, we live in a fallen world. That means the things God calls us to do will not always be easy.
No matter how honorable or just your calling is, ease is not guaranteed. In fact, there is an enemy that wants to distract you and discourage you from righteous and just pursuits.
My flesh hates that it is not easy. I am sure you do too.
Not How I Planned It
I cannot think of a better example of an easy versus hard situation in my life than the tale of our two international adoption processes.
Now, let me be clear about something before I continue. Adopting is just hard, but the process (paperwork) does not have to be. It can go smoothly, or it can be an anxiety-inducing disaster.
When we adopted Brielle from China, doors continually flew wide open for us. Paperwork always came through in the nick of time for things to move along as quickly as possible. I vividly remember receiving our travel approval paperwork early. We traveled a month earlier than expected!
I also remember seeing Brielle’s file and reading some scary words about her health while at the same time knowing deep down that she was healthy. The data and experts claimed that healthy girls did not come home from China anymore. However, I found myself sitting in front of many doctors who told me that she was healthy. Something I knew before they even told me.
I love sharing Brielle’s story.
Evan’s adoption journey was the exact opposite. We missed out on months with him because of paperwork hiccups out of our control. (Trust me. I did everything right.) I remember my heart dropping as I received an e-mail titled Possible Issue with Home Study.
In a nutshell, the reviewer in South Korea incorrectly rejected our home study. A month later, I received another e-mail from our agency that our home study was accepted. (This was the same day our speedily-completed, brand-new home study was on its way via mail to Korea. How ironic.) I was running and sat in a random yard and cried. I cried with happiness mixed with utter disbelief that it happened in the first place.
When we finally were assigned a judge, we expected our court date to be just weeks away. It was months.
The delays felt cruel.
As we battled delays, the pesky pandemic continued to make international travel an Olympic sport. Taking five covid tests caused so much worry and stress to an already stressful process.
The process to get to Evan was a dumpster fire. It was very hard, and I still tear up when I think about it. (Yes, my eyes are watering now.)
Brielle’s adoption took four months from the time we saw her picture to the day she was in our arms. Evan’s adoption took one year and four months from the moment we first saw his sweet face to the day he became a Miller.
Like I said, the tale of two completely different adoptions.
God Is Not A People Pleaser
Honestly, my tendency to be a people pleaser wants God to impress people. I skipped through doors to get to Brielle. I had to kick down doors, climb a mountain, and THEN swim in an ocean (while taking a covid test) to get to Evan.
The journey to Brielle sounds impressive. Evan's adoption journey sounds more like torture.
I keep thinking about Paul and Silas going to prison in Acts 16:16-34. They were wrongfully jailed because Paul cast a demon out of a woman who annoyed him. (I laughed at the fact that Paul was annoyed. How relatable!) Paul did a good thing by setting that woman free, but he still wound up inside a jail cell. Silas was guilty by association.
Paul and Silas did not sit in their pity while in their jail cell. They prayed and sang hymns while the prisoners listened. An earthquake happened, their chains fell off, but they did not run. Their difficult circumstances and willingness to stay paved the way for the jailer and his family to be saved. An act of obedience won someone to the Lord.
I tried my best to live that way during Evan’s turbulent adoption journey.
That journey reinforced that God is not concerned with impressing people. He is after redemption and restoration with eternity in mind.
When it was time for us to fly to South Korea, there were times when I had to physically close my eyes and imagine that I was in a boat on the water. I stepped out of the boat to walk on water towards Jesus, and He would say to me over and over, eyes on me. If I looked to my left or right, I would sink. I had to stare straight at Jesus to remain steady.
I can honestly say that Evan's adoption process is the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life so far. The journey was not easy or impressive, but the outcome sure was!
A boy with a family.
I exhale in relief and smile in hope at the thought that one day there will not be any more dumpster fires. Praise Jesus!
In the meantime, His grace and mercy will get us through the easy situations and the hard situations.
We don’t choose to do things because they are easy or hard. We do things because God asks us to do them.