As missionaries living in Tanzania, my husband and I have prayed diligently for another child.
Our prayers have been full of bittersweet moments, and we often felt as if the Lord forgot to answer. Then God changed my perspective and showed me a glimpse of His purpose. Another child was already in our home. I invite you to see these children crowded around our busy and many-cultured table.
Another child came over with a growling stomach, and whispered to my adopted daughter, “Tell your mom you need a snack.” I gladly pulled out peanuts and toasted them for my daughter, Olivia, and another child.
Another child quietly colored with Olivia at our table. She proudly hung her picture on our fridge since she doesn’t have one of her own—or even a family who values crayon masterpieces. Next to pictures by my kid is now a drawing from another.
Yesterday another child brought over her report card. She needed someone to say “I believe in you. You got this.” In that holy ordinary moment, another and I grew together through hugs and high fives.
In town, another street boy showed me his scrapes and bumps from another night of roughhousing and living on the edge. He hoped for some sympathy and Neosporin. His friend burned with a fever coming from malaria. I ran to the pharmacy for medicine. Later that same day, I cheered the another streetkids who played in a soccer scrimmage,
My list of another stories continues. Another healed, another set free, and another who knows he is loved. This truth astounds me, yet I often miss the magnitude of another’s miracle as we wait for a more personal touch.
Missing God’s handiwork, while focusing on our own perceptions, is easy. Sometimes in our nearsightedness, we miss how God creatively answers our heart cries. Thinking about our unmet expectations causes painful confusion, even when God shines brightly.
Maybe you can relate. After years of waiting and praying, you are still waiting and praying. Disappointments and unanswered prayers lead to withered dreams. Life can be unsettling. God, I see Your hand, but the answer is not what I thought. God, I know You are with me, but I need to walk the easy road.
Even in the not-so-easy, God’s Spirit leads us to trust. He reminds us He has the best dreams for His children as we tread unchartered waters that include unexpected answers to prayers. God’s best is better than easy.
I cook a little extra these days, not knowing if another will stay for dinner. I carry water in my car, not knowing if I will bump into another who is thirsty and sunbaked. I keep my schedule more flexible, hoping to allow room for a God-appointed moment with another—the child God has given me to love moment by moment.
I’m learning the heart truths of Isaiah 54:1: “Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby. Fill the air with song, you who’ve never experienced childbirth! You’re ending up with far more children than all those childbearing women” (The Message).
God has given my husband and me more children than we could ever have dreamed of. He masterminds unlikely miracles. His life-giving creativity means our heart cries are remembered.
We continue to pray for another child, as we thank God for the ones He moment-by-moment entrusts to us. We see God’s answers to heartfelt prayers in unexpected ways through the gift of another child. We have learned to see God’s hand in unforeseen circumstances and choose joy in finding everyday miracles, even in the waiting. We trust our Father’s good heart and experience His goodness.
We will not miss God’s often unexpected answers to our heart cries if we open our eyes and witness His Spirit moving.