So, I was reading in Lamentations the other day….. (what—you too??) and since I am in the middle of having just brought home a 15 year old boy with much loss, I have been wondering what is going on in his mind, what he is lamenting. I know the contexts of the two are totally different: Jeremiah was writing about the Israelites’ suffering and desperation in the midst of God’s punishment for their deep ongoing sin, while Kieran has done nothing to deserve his difficult place in life. Yet in the middle of this depressing book and in the midst of His anger, our gracious God, once again, offers hope:
19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
28 Let him sit alone in silence,
for the Lord has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.
31 For men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men. (Lam 3:19-33)
Kieran is often found sitting alone in silence. It is not because he is depressed (though I know he has sorrow)—I am pretty confident that he is praying a good bit of that time. But he is bearing quite a yoke while he is still young. He is grieving the loss of his childhood, his schooling, his family, his culture—all because of the loss of the use of his legs. However, I see hope in his eyes. His life may be a little like Job’s, but he is not giving up on his faithful God.
Recently, I read a post by my good friend and adoptive mama Monica that inspired me. She said in long car trips when she is alone with her newly adopted teenage daughter, she takes the opportunity to pour into her love and the knowledge of her importance to God and to this life. So that day, on the way home from our pediatrician appointment, I tried to do the same in the best way I could with Kieran’s limited understanding of English.
I reminded him how much God loves him and has not forgotten him. I told him again that God so specifically called us to go get him, that I know He has great plans for him. I tried to explain redemption to him in easy English like this: “I know some things are bad. Your leg, that is bad. But God is so good at changing bad to good! He makes beautiful things out of ugly things. Often, He even makes them more beautiful than before!” And I told him that God is writing an amazing story (with a big pen sweep of my hand) with his life and I am SO EXCITED to see what He does with it! And this God wants him to tell God’s redemptive story to the world!
Later today (Monday) is Kieran’s appointment with the pediatric orthopedic surgeon. This is the appointment that he has probably been waiting on for 5 years. This is a good bit of the reason he left everything he knew to come to America. There may be a lot we still do not know after this appointment, but it is the beginning of something. And there is always the possibility that they will tell us there is nothing they can do for him.
Please pray for wisdom for the doctor and a creative mind to think outside of the norm. (I am thankful that he goes to Cambodia yearly which will undoubtedly give him a different kind of experience.) And please pray for Kieran’s heart to accept and trust God even if the news is not what he wanted to hear. With disabilities, he can still attend school (which he has not been able to do since his accident–there is no way to walk a long way in Ethiopia with crutches, nor push a wheelchair through the ruts in the dirt). He can still get a job and have a family here. There is still hope, even in the midst of his grief.
I wanted to make sure I wrote this post before our appointment today. Whatever the outcome, God is faithful! God is still on the throne and will use Kieran to glorify Himself!