The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the Lord your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced. Then you will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other. Never again will my people be disgraced.
Over the past two years, our family lost our home. We lost friends. We lost jobs. We lost the fellowship of a church that was once a family.
Most of all it felt like we lost faith in humankind.
And we’ve struggled not to lose our faith in God.
It’s hard to hold on when you look back over all the things you’ve worked so hard for and see that they were destroyed.
Our lives at times have felt like an empty, barren wasteland.
But lately I’ve begun to see signs of new life cropping up.
And not because I planted something.
I haven’t had anything to give.
The only explanation is that God is producing something newer and healthier than what we had before.
These past two years have been a time when my husband and I have looked back over all that has been lost and dug deep into the reasons why. We’ve thrown out so many weeds that we didn’t even know were there that were suffocating the life out the healthy plants that God wanted to grow.
Though the pain of loss has been overwhelming, it’s clear to me that these weeds needed to go. But in the process of pulling up the weeds, the plants that we thought were good were removed as well.
But in this empty soil, God is growing something new.
Yesterday, was a clear evidence of this.
Recently, I got a part-time job in a therapeutic environment. Ironically, my immediate supervisor is a professional counselor whose area of expertise is helping children with attachment problems.
I always knew that because of being adopted that I’d struggled with feeling like I didn’t belong. But I don’t think I ever understood until I started working at this job how deep those wounds actually were.
One of the things that kept me in the relationship with my former pastor was that he told me constantly that he wasn’t going anywhere, that we shared a heart, and that I belonged with him. As an adopted child, these were the words I’d longed to hear my entire life. So much so that early on in my counseling with him after he began to call me his little girl, I even asked him to adopt me.
Looking back on that time, I have felt so much confusion over the desperation in my heart that caused me to ask him to adopt me. I’ve also felt a tremendous amount of shame.
But recently I caught a glimpse of my supervisor helping a child with an attachment problem. And it gave me a lot of clarity into the desperation that had been at work in my own heart.
Ironically, I heard some of the same words that my former pastor had told me coming out of this counselor’s mouth as she reassured a child that her parents were not going anywhere; that she belonged with them. I even watched her offer this child comfort through appropriate touch. It was clear to me and everyone in the room that healing was taking place in a child’s life as the tears flowed. And it took all I could do to hold it together.
In those moments the truth sunk deep into my soul. This counselor had been a bridge to help this child find her way to the home she’d been longing for; to a place that was safe and where she could belong.
I thought of the moment my former pastor hugged me and allowed me to cry on his chest, and then told me he loved me. I believed in that moment over ten years ago that I’d found the home I’d always been looking for. I thought I was safe.
But yesterday it was clear to me how many boundary lines he’d trampled over in even those moments. He was never supposed to become the father I’d never had. He was only supposed to be the bridge that got me to my Heavenly Father. Instead he’d made himself an idol and a roadblock in the way of the relationship I needed to have with God.
My own counselor’s words reverberated in my mind. There are no more fathers and mothers after the ones who raised you.
And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father.
And it was clear yesterday that my good Heavenly Father was at work restoring the years that the locusts had destroyed and restoring my faith in humanity’s ability to be a reflection of His love.
As Don Miller says, there really are more lifeguards than sharks.
And another seed of hope was planted.