Glad to Have Waited

Around 12:30pm today, Cindi called during a meeting to tell me that Judah’s custody papers are on their way from Uganda!  Lord-willing they’ll arrive in Texas sometime before the weekend or on Monday, and from there they’ll be overnighted to Santa Clarita where we and the other families will turn them in to INS.  We hope this is the final piece of the puzzle that INS wants in place in order for them to approve our application.  If they do, the last major step is getting a court date prepared and scheduled in Uganda.

Getting the custody papers signed has been the biggest hurdle we’ve faced so far.  Waiting for Judah’s birth certificate took a little bit longer than waiting for his custody papers, but walking the labyrinth of the custody papers situation has been much more painstaking and much less predictable.  Over the past month or two Cindi and I had gotten to the point of acknowledging the possibility that we might never get Judah, and if we did, it could take months or even years.  This was simply a realistic possibility that had to be considered.

It made no human sense why the custody papers weren’t getting signed.  I won’t go into the details, but there simply was no reasonable explanation.  The effect this had on us was to turn our hearts to the God who promises that He has reasons for all that He does and all that He does not do and all that He waits to do.  His reasons are often invisible, but His promises are always clear as day.

And just as it made no human sense why the custody papers took so long to get signed, there also was no human rationale for why they are now signed and in the mail.  What caused the official to simply sign his name now instead of three months ago?  If someone in the process wanted a bribe, why the change of heart now?  Why did God not cause us to wait another three months?  Was God waiting to teach us some specific things before giving us our heart’s desire?  If so, what are those things?  How many other people was He teaching through this process, and what was He teaching them?  How will He use what they learned in the future?  Is God preparing us for harder situations down the road by building endurance in us now?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, and although I would like to know, I don’t need to know.  What I do know, though, is that sovereignty is not a book to be read but a foundation to stand upon.  My responsibility is not to decipher the eternal language of providence but to grow in my appreciation of its beauty and intricacy and trustworthiness.

God has taught us and many others to pray and to trust and to wait throughout this situation.  We would not have learned this to the same extent if everything had gone “smoothly.”  Had God simply orchestrated events in such a way that every part of the process happened in predictable, time-sensitive, culturally-acceptable, desired ways, I would have assumed His goodness and presumed upon His power instead of learning and embracing them.  Had He walked us down a straight, paved path, I would not have felt like I needed His guidance.  Had He directed events according to my expectations, I would have felt like the process was natural.  As it is, I have no doubt that it was supernatural.

Our son is one step closer to us, but he is not here yet.  And I dare not presume upon God to do what we want Him to do when we want Him to do it.  We are not His counselors.  He has not recently asked us for our recommendations.  He has asked for our faith and our joy and our perseverance and our believing prayers and our patient waiting.  And I trust that He will not give us what we want from Him until He gets what He wants from us.  Even more, He will not immediately give us what we want from Him so that we will learn to want the most important things from Him.  Finally, He will not give us what we want from Him so that we learn to want Him.  Then everything that we want, we will want because of Him and for His sake.

I am overjoyed to know that Judah’s custody papers are in the mail.  This is a day of celebration.  But the foundation of our happiness is not that we have what we’ve been waiting for, but that God has been faithful to multiply our joy by teaching us to wait and to find our rest in Him.  I am glad that Judah’s custody papers are in the mail.  But I am also glad to have waited.


14 thoughts on “Glad to Have Waited

  1. Z-Dad: Thanks for sharing your heart and your wisdom.

    Jess: If I knew more about the Reformation, I would probably post something. I just know the basics, though, so the best I could do would be some exhortational reflections. I would say that the Anabaptists are well-worth studying, though. They are quickly and easily forgotten in the midst of bigger and brighter Reformation names like Luther and Calvin. All that being said, I am grateful for those throughout the centuries who have stood for the glory and truth of Christ in the midst of turbulent and torturous times. I would ask for a double portion of their spirit, but I think that even having half of their spirit would probably transform all of us beyond recognition.

  2. TO DAD: After reading what you have written on this blog, I feel compelled to comment on your wisdom and chosen words. You write out loud from a place that only parents can love and understand. Yet,if God calls our child home we must accept their short time with us as the greatest gift that he shared with us. And I know you because he used you as his messenger to me. Thank you.

  3. I needed to hear your words this morning. I too am waiting…I thought I was waiting for answers and explanations, I am reminded that I am not waiting on these things, but rather, waiting on God. Thank you.

  4. Gunner and Cindi,

    I’m not much of a blogger; in fact this may be my first interaction with such. And yet you struck a significant cord with your thoughts which compelled me to reply.

    You are blessed to have such a foundational understanding of life. I see it every time my eyes read what you write. You have now added yet another life experience to this foundation which validates all the more your confidence in the Sovereignty of God.

    You will have many occasions in life, particularly in pondering children, to consider the depth and breadth of your “custodianship”. I think you will find great comfort in knowing and embracing the thought that God gives us this custodianship but for a while and for a purpose.

    Whether our children come by way of natural birth or adoption, whether they are healthy or sick, whether they have professed faith in Christ or they are living in the flesh, whether they are single or they are married, whether they are in Phd programs or high school drop-outs, they are all “owned” by God and He gives us a “custodianship” that requires us to fully invest our love in them but never, ever forget that He loves them more.

    The questions, the trials, the tears and all that inevitably arise in the course of custodianship must always be seen in the context of God’s Sovereignty. You have grasped that so well in your immdeiate situation. Hold on to that as you go through life because you will need it for what is to come!

    Z-Dad

  5. Gunner & Cindi – We are thanking God for this development and for what he has taught you through the trial. And we’re praying that the rest of the puzzle comes together quickly!

  6. God is good. Thank you for reminding me to embrace trials and hard times as gifts from God and not reasons to complain. Two sentences in your post served me well and strengthened me:

    “His reasons are often invisible, but His promises are always clear as day.”

    “What I do know, though, is that sovereignty is not a book to be read but a foundation to stand upon.”

    Thank you for sharing what God has been teaching you. I know he hasn’t given you all the reasons, but one reason he brought this to you was for him to minister to me through your trial.

    Thanks again.

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