**Disclaimer: I wrote this article to encourage the Church to obey God even in the midst of fear and uncertainty. I used my own fears involved in our upcoming adoption as an example. Unfortunately, about a month after I wrote this, our daughter passed away before we could complete her adoption. Having my fears become my reality hasn’t changed my belief in this truth. Now, more than ever, I affirm that, despite our fears, we can trust and obey God.
My husband and I want to be the kind of kingdom people who always say “yes” to the Lord. Sometimes that “yes” is given easily and other times, when we’re afraid, that one little word feels like a declaration of war – a war against our own flesh.
Our flesh was content to acknowledge God’s concern for vulnerable people from afar. We were afraid of leaning in, of involving ourselves, because of the risk to our personal status quo. But God was calling us to go all in.
He began stirring our hearts for the spiritual and physical plight of the vulnerable. He sent us to Africa with 127 Worldwide, a mercy ministry of our local church, Imago Dei, in North Carolina, and exposed us to the global orphan crisis. No longer content with our indifference towards orphans, we prayed about how we would image our heavenly father’s heart for the fatherless.
God called us to pursue adoption.
We began working with 127 Worldwide, empowering local leaders around the globe to meet the spiritual and physical needs of orphans. But we also felt God calling us to pursue the adoption of a little girl we met in Uganda. Meeting her was like meeting someone we never knew we loved.
The magnitude of our desire to welcome her into our family was overwhelming. After much prayer and wise counsel, we began the legal process to welcome this child into our family.
The desire to adopt internationally is a new one that God put in our hearts. We’re not pursuing adoption because we feel like we have to, we’re doing it because we want to. It is our joy to obey God’s good command to care for orphans (James 1:27).
We are motivated by our theology. The Bible teaches that we, too, were once orphans. But God. But God gifted us with salvation, adopting us into his family, making us heirs along with Christ (Galatians 4:5-7). Grace we have been shown, and grace we desire to show others.
God’s call makes me anxious.
Despite my desire to obey God’s call to pursue this adoption, I am afraid. I hesitate to share my anxious thoughts. I just want to be the bold girl walking in obedience to what God is calling me to do. I don’t want to be the scared girl who wants to hide under the covers when my faith falters. But I am both girls, and I want them both to bring God glory. One, in her fruit-bearing obedience, and the other, in her desperate dependence on her heavenly father. There is space for both of us at the foot of the cross.
Soon my family of six will relocate to Uganda for up to a year to complete this adoption. As I prepare for this transition, these are my anxious thoughts whispered to God through shaky lips.
I’m so scared. What have I gotten myself into? I can barely keep up with my four kids, how will I handle a fifth? We don’t have enough money. There are so many unknowns. I’m scared to live in Uganda for a year. How will my relationships with my friends change while I’m gone? So many things could go wrong. How will I navigate these cultural and legal challenges?
What if? What if she’s sicker than we realize? What if she doesn’t like us? What if we bankrupt ourselves in this process? What if she hates it here? What if I don’t love her like I love my sons? What if she gets my boys sick? What if we go to Uganda but have to come home without her?
How will my boys handle this? Will they be able to handle living in Uganda? How will they react to having a sister who is a different race and has different biological parents? Will my relationship with them change? Will they resent the attention our new daughter will receive?
We are risking a lot. We’re risking our current, incredibly smooth, family dynamic. We’re risking our financial security. We’re risking being close to family and friends if something tragic happens in the time we’ll be in Uganda. We’re risking our comfort. We’re risking our health and our safety.
Obeying God’s call despite my fears.
The Enemy wants me to be paralyzed by fear. But my fears don’t lead me to inaction, they lead me to the throne. When I whisper my anxious thoughts to God, I’m not met with chastisement, but open arms. My father gives me bold and confident access to him (Hebrews 4:16). He lovingly invites me to give him all my anxieties (1 Peter 5:7). God is using this process to draw me into a deeper dependency on him.
Micah 6:8 says we should not only seek justice and love mercy, but walk humbly. We walk in obedience down the path God illuminates, but we do so humbly – dependent on him. We walk humbly by his grace and in the strength he provides. When I walk humbly, I’m the girl who acts despite her fears because she trusts her father.
What about you? Is God calling you to do something that makes you anxious? Bring your anxiousness to the throne and find grace. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust your father with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” The Psalmist says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
Yes, I’m afraid of all the uncertainty in this adoption journey. I feel completely insufficient for this task. But ultimately, I trust my father. I depend on his sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 12:9). His word says, “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you’” (Isaiah 41:13). I can obey by his grace because I trust him.
We mustn’t let fear reign. Our father reigns on the throne. He is good and he’s with us and he’s for us. Therefore, we can obey despite our fear. Every act of obedience is a declaration of our trust in him. May God use our humble obedience for his glory among all the nations.