A year ago, my husband and I entered into foster/adoption care. Before our paperwork was officially finished, and home study even started, we got a call. It was October 5, 2012. We met our son in the hospital at just 4 lbs. 6 oz. His name was Boston and we loved him immediately. Over the course of the year there were countless visits with his mom and interactions with state workers. We never knew if he would be ours forever, or just for a while. We raised him as our own. But this June, we found out as of September, he would be returned to his mother. He was our son, and we would lose him. The last few months were a whirlwind. Before we knew it, the day had come for him to go. That day reality set in. Our son would never come back home.
As a Christian, when I suffer it is not because God dropped the ball, nor is it always because of my direct sin. God has called me to Himself for His purposes. God has ordained that his people encounter suffering from time to time as we follow his will in obedience. It is a form of God's grace. He graciously refines us to be more like Him in our suffering. He shows up and reminds us that we are ultimately satisfied in Him. We are to stand firm in His word when it says, "We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
Losing Boston is excruciatingly painful. I know that God placed him in our lives and in raising Boston we obediently followed God's will. We have not been called by God to a painless life. Even in our pain we have the privilege of reflecting Christ, our God who suffered on our behalf. Our ultimate joy and hope is in Jesus. Jesus is, "the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross" (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus saw the suffering to come and looked beyond that to the joy of being with the Father in all His glory. My eyes are to be focused there always, especially in suffering.
There is a myth that to be a Christian is to a take a gamble or a risk. The Bible does not support that. God is omnipotent. There is no game, because He is in control. When Boston was returned to his mom, we had not lost a risky bet. God simply said our time with Boston had come to an end. It is not risky to follow God. When he calls us to do tough things, or allows pain to enter our lives, He is in control of it all, and He is altogether good. We may have a good plan, but God has the best plan (Proverbs 19:21). Sometimes His plan is to conform us to the image of his Son and draw us closer to Himself through our pain.
God is enough. When our flesh and hearts fail in this momentary affliction on this earth, He is our strength and portion forever (Psalm 73:26). Focus your eyes on Christ. Look at Him and know you are loved by Him. Our pain is not meaningless or useless, it does something and it matters. Do not lose heart. This pain is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18