By Rachel Varblow
Meggie was born at six pounds, one ounce with cocaine and seven other illegal substances flowing through her veins. She went immediately into foster care and came home with us where she lived here for her first five-and-a-half months, perhaps the best-loved baby on the planet.
During that time her siblings lived in four different homes. We were heartbroken when she left to go live with them in their latest foster home in another state.
Before she left, I wrote her new foster mom a letter asking that she teach her about Jesus. That was how I learned Meggie’s new parents were also believers, a huge comfort in the questionable world of foster care.
That family adopted her and two of her sisters. Once in awhile they send me a picture or a video, and I can see that she is loved; she is thriving surrounded with love, brothers, sisters, a mom, and a dad.
I think we can safely say that Meggie being in a safe and happy home is the will of God. So, can we take from that that He willed or desired all the things that brought her there?
For her mother to have a baby with a man she never knew, to be so addicted to cocaine that she was willing to lose her children in pursuit of this drug, to spend most of her adult life in prison? Of course not.
Just because God used these things to bring Meggie to a safe place, I’m pretty sure His desire is that each child be able to live with and be raised by their two healthy parents and that parents would never have their children taken from them. But, God used the chaos caused by humanity to bring about a good plan.
He placed Meggie safely with us and then brought her to her forever family. Her mother being in prison for most of the pregnancy meant that Meggie had prenatal care and less exposure to drugs. Birth mom running to Michigan for Meggie’s birth brought Meggie to us rather than letting her bounce through all those foster with homes her siblings.
The first months are so critical for forming attachments and developing the ability to bond. Would Meggie be the person she is now if she hadn’t been protected from all those moves? God took the tragedy, the brokenness, and brought good.
God took the tragedy, the brokenness, and brought good.
Jacob was severely abused for his first four months and spent a month in intensive care before coming home with us. Two years later we adopted him. I look at him sometimes and ponder God’s hand in this.
There was no path other than abuse or neglect that would have brought Jake to our home, yet his being here seems so right. So, was the abuse God’s will so that Jacob could be with us? Did God desire for a tiny baby to be beaten and burned?
The only thing that God cannot do is to act in a way contrary to His character. He is good and He desires good. He wanted Jacob to be well cared for in a loving home with two competent parents.
The only thing that God cannot do is to act in a way contrary to His character.
His birth mother tried to make an adoption plan for Jacob before he was born, but the families she interviewed argued with each other or yelled at their children in front of her. If they had behaved better, Jacob may have gone to them, may never have been abused; we might never have known him.
I hate to admit it, but maybe we were God’s back-up plan for Jacob. The very good plan made necessary by broken humanity, but not the first choice.
Somehow God took the blocks of cruelty, violence, anger, and neglect and used them to build a family. Only God can do that.
Two weeks ago Jacob’s little brother Jason was taken from our home and put with his birth family. I blogged about it and hit on this very topic:
“These people failing this little baby? That’s not God’s will. The reasons he came into foster care in the first place? Not God’s will. Brothers divided one from the other? Not God’s will. Human free will, human choice, and a fallen world are bringing more pain to a sin-filled earth. This isn’t God’s doing.”
So, I was very interested in church on Sunday when Pastor Justin attacked this issue, and I’ll admit I may have listened more attentively than usual. I wondered if he agreed with me or if he thought all the pain, the bad, the grief in the world are part of God’s will. I leaned forward, waiting for his take and sighed with relief when he attributed the suffering to chaos, not to God.
The loss of Jason hurts. We wonder where God’s plan is in this as at times all we see is unending human error and deception. We love a baby we may never see again.
But, in the midst of our grief, our family, our friends, the community of believers has come alongside us, shoring us up with prayer, hugs, cards, scripture, flowers, texts, dinners, emails, kind words, so much love.
God didn’t desire the pain of losing this baby, but He did put us in a place of comfort and help. His plan for the family of believers is evident all around us.
Meggie’s addicted mother? What happened to Jacob? Baby Jason leaving us? These things are manifestations of our broken world. Tragic and painful, but mere symptoms of a much greater disease.
The greater tragedy is the broken system that tears families apart, gives kids to unsafe people, applies a quick Band-Aid, then turns quickly away so that they don’t have to watch the blood seep through.
The greater tragedy is the need for the foster system, the countless children desperately in need of hope and belonging.
The greater tragedy is the fallen and broken world, where things happen apart from God’s wishes. A place He created in love where it became necessary for His son to be nailed to a cross bearing the weight of all the sins that ever had been and ever will be committed.
Our Holy God broken and battered, slowly dying for a fallen world. The greatest tragedy of all.
And yet from the greatest tragedy comes the greatest joy. In His pain, in His sacrifice–our redemption, our deliverance. Such good from such horror.
In His pain, in His sacrifice–our redemption, our deliverance. Such good from such horror.
Did God desire that pain, the blood of His Son dripping down the splintering wood? Of course He didn’t, but from it He brought His plan, His goodness. Salvation.
The good from bad that He worked for Meggie, for Jacob, for us is an echo of what He did on the cross. The suffering isn’t His desire, but again and again and again He uses it to accomplish His purpose.
The featured image is used by permission from Bright Light Graphics in Frankenmuth, Michigan.