Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Roadblocks, Brickwalls and Campfires

     by Carole Towriss
      Yesterday in church we had a guest speaker who was released from prison in January. He said that, at least where and when he went in, you were told exactly when you would be released with good behavior. Six weeks before he was to get out, he was given a letter stating there had been a clerical error and he had another seventeen months to serve.
     Obviously, he was devastated.
     God, however, had a plan. During those months, he was part a program that introduced him to Jesus. He surrendered his life, met his mentor, and when he got out had a purpose for his life.
     Things don't always go the way we want them to. We hit roadblocks--major roadblocks. Like Joseph-sold-to-Egypt roadblocks.
     But sometimes that's God working.
     The trick is to recognize God working in the midst of our pain. And that's not easy. I'm not sure Joseph recognized it that day, or the next, or that week. Maybe not until he saw his brothers asking for grain.
     But what he did do was continue to behave righteously, acting in accordance with God's law, in accordance with what had been revealed to him so far.
     That in and of itself can be a tall order sometimes, when the pain is great enough.
     I remember when we went to get Mira. What we (or at least I) expected to be a ten-day trip in-country turned out to be three weeks long.
     We were the first adoption in Kazakstan under the new laws. Ugly, ridiculous rumors abounded as to why Americans wanted their babies. We waited in our rented flat for days for her exit visa. Our facilitator, a beautiful woman named Svetlana, came back one day, again without it, asking for the pictures we had taken the day we met Mira, showing me crying. "I need happy-family pictures for the police chief."
     I wasn't exactly behaving like Joseph. After she left, I paced with Mira in my arms. "They're not going to let us leave with her. All this and they won't let us leave." I could only see a big, fat, brick wall.
     John just stared at me. "You're not going there, are you?"
     "Oh, I am already there. I have set up camp there. I have built a house there."
      Needless to say, Svetlana returned with the visa and we left two days later, and I don't believe anyone else had any trouble after that. Our next trip was over and done with in ten days, travel time included.
     The road blocks were necessary. They built up everyone's faith and trust. The officials', and definitely mine.
     The next time you see a brick wall, try instead to imagine what it is He might be protecting you from, or what better things He might be leading you to. I know it's hard, and I'm the least likely person to do just that. :)
     It's far easier to do that on the other side.


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