“When the earth and everyone living upon it spin into chaos, I am the One who stabilizes and supports it.” Psalm 75:3 (The Voice)
When my husband and I were in training to become adoptive parents through the State, our instructor walked us through an exercise I will never forget. Each person in the room was handed an index card. On it, we were to write three meaningful things we couldn’t live without in three speciﬁc categories. First, a person. Second, an object. Third, a place. Only one for each category.
The room was silent as each of us pondered what was most important in our lives. Prior to this exercise, our instructor had been talking about the great loss a child experiences when he or she enters into the foster care system. Often, depending on the situation, the removal is sudden and quick.
For this exercise, we were now to put ourselves in the child’s shoes. “Cross off number three,” she said. “Whether it’s your home, a favorite room, a spot to relax, a vacation area…you are likely never to go there again.” Everyone drew a line through number 3. “Now, cross off number two.” When a caseworker removes a child from his or her home, there is often no warning, no time to collect meaningful possessions. As we drew our lines through number two, there was a somber heaviness in the room. We knew what was coming, and we already felt the weight of loss, even in this hypothetical exercise.
“Number one. Take a minute and think about the name you wrote down. Maybe your spouse, a parent, a friend, a relative. When children enter foster care, they lose everything…everything that’s important to them, everything they know. Cross off number one.”
The room was silent. The exercise proved its point. But my pen still hovered above the name I’d written for number one.
I knew the intent of the exercise, and I felt the loss along with everyone else, the heavy trauma so many children in this world experience. But, on a different level, I was experiencing something else. A window into a truth in my own life.
Amidst the sadness, my heart began to ﬁll with joy and peace. I didn’t cross off number one. I didn’t have to. Instead, I circled it. I laid down my pen and stared at my card. I don’t remember what I’d written for two and three. But I can still see number one with a circle around it: GOD.
No one can take me from Him. He never leaves. He never changes. When all else falls away, He is still there. I will never be left with nothing, for in Him, I have everything.
It’s been about 8 years since I went through that exercise, but I can feel it as though it were yesterday. God used that moment to mark me, to whisper His love and constancy and faithfulness and “enoughness” deep into my heart.
I’ve shared this experience with others over the years, and I’ve come to realize something. There’s a question everyone needs to ask themselves: Who is my God?
When trials come, your answer to this question will either steady you with a ﬁrm foundation or ﬁll you with uncertainty. Do you know Him? And not just know of Him, but truly know Him, His character, His heart?
This world is full of chaos. Trials and tragedy come with no warning. Culturally, in 2020, we’re experiencing it like never before with politics, COVID, riots, natural disasters. Just weeks ago many of us faced the reality of losing everything to ﬁre. Some did lose everything. Some were evacuated and left with a gaping unknown. I will never forget sitting down with my three kids and explaining what was happening, explaining that ﬁres were close, explaining the three levels of evacuation, explaining that we needed to pack, but that we couldn’t take everything. Fear began to rear its ugly head. But then, we talked about our God.
Over and over again in the Bible, tragedy hits and it feels like the end, and nothing makes sense. But over and over again, God’s plans and purposes prevail. He knows the beginning and the end. Nothing is a surprise to Him.
We do not have to succumb to the chaos. We have a God who is in control. And our God is good. Do you know Him? Do you trust Him? “It’s never the end of the story when He is involved,” I told my kids that day.
He is with us and His plans for us are good. Does that mean nothing bad will ever happen? No. His promise of good is not for an easy life. It’s better than that. It is the promise of Himself, forever, always. When all other things fall away, He remains. When the very ground beneath our feet begins to tremble, the God who made the ground holds us in the palm of His hand. The God of the Universe sees, hears, knows and loves YOU. We may not see clearly, but He does. He sees through all of time, meets you where you are and offers you Himself.
Do you know Him? Search the Scriptures, my friend, they are His very breath. Cry out to Him, He will answer. Look for Him, He will be found. He will not turn away from you. And when you open your heart to Him, He will ﬁll it with such awe you will not turn from Him, no matter what shadows loom.
We cannot avoid the hard things that are handed to us in this broken world. We have to walk through it, but we do not walk alone. Do you know the One that walks with you?
Pull out an index card, write down GOD in big letters. Make it bold, use a sharpie. Now breathe…your card will never be blank.