“Ah! Little do you think how God is now about to unfold to you the depths of His love, and to cause your will sweetly, filially, and entirely to flow into His.”
Have you ever felt that lifting of a burden, that freedom, that exhilarating lightening of spirit that comes when you finally feel absolutely certain of a decision, and then surrender your heart and your will to that knowledge?
Your agonizing struggle is over, and although you’re still uncertain of the outcome, you know without a doubt which direction you should now be facing and what your next step is supposed to be. You’re ready to confidently embrace the future one step at a time. The peace and the courage that flood your soul . . . ah, this is a moment not to be forgotten.
I remember one of these moments so clearly that my heart beats with excitement as I revisit it even now . . . almost a year later.
“Do you have room for one more?”
I opened my Facebook inbox one day last year and found this question waiting for me, along with a brief description of a breathtakingly beautiful four-year-old orphan girl who had been born with a terribly deformed trunk and a multitude of accompanying medical needs. Scott’s and my initial human and fear-driven reaction was, “No. We don’t have room (or money, or time, or energy) for one more.”
We were in the midst of one of our most challenging years, ever. Roslyn and Jaden had only been home for about eight months. And those eight months had been grueling. Jaden’s medical needs had taken us to new levels of exhaustion. We felt we had truly reached the end of ourselves multiple times. And we were so very tired.
Our hearts ached for this little girl who had never been wanted by a family, in spite of the advocacy on her behalf by numerous agencies and organizations. She, like every parent-less child out there, deserved a home. Parents to love her and devote themselves to her. Siblings to dote on her. Pets to snuggle with. Pretty dresses, special birthday meals, trips to the zoo. We really did want to obey—to be wholly open to following wherever God led—but we lacked the strength and the faith. How could we possibly continue to meet everyone’s needs if we stretched those needs even further?
Because we had committed, years before, to opening our eyes, ears, and hearts, and praying diligently anytime God seemed to be placing another child in our path, we agreed to do just this. But we experienced so much fear over the possibility that we might actually discover that God was, indeed, asking us to adopt again.
We told only a few people about this and asked them to pray with us, and we continued taking very tentative baby steps in the direction we felt He was probably leading us, asking Him to help us—while still not committing fully or officially to her adoption.
One of the people we shared this with expressed his concern for our family and said to us, “There’s a point where this becomes destructive.”
This hurt. Actually, though, we knew that it was probably true. But where is that point? We felt that only God could accurately answer this question.
So we continued listening for His voice, and only His voice, in our hearts. As we wrestled with our fears and our uncertainty, He slowly began to fill our hearts with confidence and surety about where He was leading and about the validity of trusting Him enough to follow.
I still couldn’t shake the fear of moving forward and making a solid commitment, though. And I was plagued with sadness over the fact that I couldn’t seem to release this fear, and experience joy and excitement over the blessing of another daughter.
Then it happened. Freedom!
That October Sunday afternoon, two months after I had opened that message in Facebook, I was driving alone in the car and praying about this child’s future and our role in that. Suddenly, like flash of light, something happened. Her name came to me so clearly that it was almost as if it had been spoken aloud, right there in the car.
Moriah is associated with divine providence. It is the name of the place where God led Abraham when He brought Abraham to the point of seeing his own heart concerning his love and commitment for following God. In obedience, Abraham went to Moriah where God had instructed him to sacrifice his only child—his cherished son, Isaac. Even though Abraham had no idea what God was doing, he trusted God completely—regardless of the circumstances—to make the whole situation right and good and perfect. He didn’t have to know how. He only had to follow and trust. He even said, in answer to his son’s question about the animal needed for the sacrifice, that God would provide one. He was confident that God had this situation under control—that he could trust God to work out all of the unknown details. Once Abraham had acknowledged that he was willing to surrender his hold on this son who had come to him and Sarah in such a miraculous way, God said,
“Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear (revere) God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Genesis 22:12)
And then God provided the sacrifice that was needed. Abraham actually called the place, “Yaweh Jireh,” which means, “The Lord will see to it.”
Scott’s and my journey over the preceding two months had been much like this. Even though we felt like we had already given so much of ourselves to God, trusting Him to continue designing beautiful things out of the treasures we laid in His hands, He took us to a place where we were able to see that we still weren’t ready to give Him everything. We were still afraid for the future of our family, being able to meet the needs of our children, our ability to care for this little one as she needed and deserved to be cared for. He asked us to release these things, to place them all before Him and leave them there and trust Him to “see to it.”
So I knew with clarity that this child had been chosen to be our new daughter. And I knew that her name was to be Lilyan, which fit our children’s name pattern, and means, “God is perfection.”
“As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.” Psalm 18:30
And Moriah because of the deep, personal journey of the heart that we had traveled to come to this point of complete surrender—where I did finally find waiting for me peace and excitement about what was ahead.
Then, although that moment of release had been so dramatic and real for me that I didn’t really need further confirmation, I was blessed to stumble across this writing by Octavius Winslow four days later. Our hearts had heard correctly.
Can the Believer walk happily, when there is a constant opposition in his mind to all the dealings of his God and Father?
Oh no! Holiness and happiness are closely allied; and both are the offspring of a humble, filial, and complete surrender of the will in all things to God.
It is not on the high mount of joy, but in the low valley of humiliation, that this precious and holy surrender is learned.
It is not in the summer day, when all things smile and wear a sunny aspect; then it were easy to say, “Your will be done.” But, when a cloudy and a wintry sky looks down upon you; when the chill blast of adversity blows; when the heart’s fondest endearments are yielded; when the Isaac is called for; when you are brought so low, that it would seem to you lower you could not be; then to look up with filial love and exclaim, “My Father, Your will be done!”—oh, this is holiness; this is happiness indeed.
It may be God, your God and Father, is dealing thus with you now. Has He asked for the surrender of your Isaac?
Ah! Little do you think how God is now about to unfold to you the depths of His love, and to cause your will sweetly, filially, and entirely to flow into His.
Let me repeat the observation—a higher degree of sanctification there cannot be, than a will entirely swallowed up in God’s. Earnestly pray for it, diligently seek it. Wrestle for an entire surrender—to be where, and to be what, your covenant God and Father would have you.
Only God knows the perfect path for each of us. We would, in our human fear, turn away from so many of the paths He lays out for us and miss too many blessings to even count if we followed our own earthly wisdom. We can’t see past the scary windings and turnings to know what beauty He has ahead, even in the midst of the painful briers and stones and anthills that lay along that path.
So we will continue to pray for the courage and the faith to trust Him in all areas of our life. We will place our feet where He says to place them. And He will “see to” all of our needs and our children’s needs along the way.
Lilyan Moriah came home to our family in June, 2014, and there has never been a brighter light among us. Her courage and strength and overflowing joy daily inspire every member of our family as she rises above the incredible challenges she faces every single day. Oh, what a gift we would’ve missed if we hadn’t trusted God enough to follow Him down this very scary road. We thank Him constantly for leading us, whispering encouragement to us, making each step clear to us and carrying our daughter home to us in His strong, loving arms.