Thursday, August 11, 2011


A Word From Susan Hillis:

No Different

Last Sunday was a very hard day.  Although I am thankful that 8 of our 10 children are doing well, I felt deeply burdened and concerned that 2 of our daughters in their early 20’s had gone missing for a time during the previous several weeks.  "No different." That was the fear underlying my deep concern.  Their lives seemed, on the surface, "no different" than they would have been if we had never adopted them.  I am sure there are some of you reading this who have, on occasion, felt the same way.  In my mind’s eye, the PRESENCE and PROMISES of God loomed much larger than the problems, but in my heart, the reverse order and magnitude kept fighting to prevail.  I felt sad, deeply troubled, unable to sleep.  As I went to the Lord, I would find myself gifted and lifted by the Lord’s extravagantly extreme provision of His comfort and goodness through His Word, through prayer, through song (I encourage you to listen to  Never Once by Matt Redman,)  and through divine connections with other believers who seemed custom-made by Design, to help our daughters and to help us. 

Barely would I begin to walk in that place of feeling uplifted, standing in that place of the Lord’s strength and hope, when another bit of bad news would sideswipe me right in my blind spot.  As several close friends were checking on me by calls or texts, ‘Susan, how are you,’ all I could think of in reply was one word.  “Wobbly.”  I felt that I barely stood straight when I was knocked down hard again, like one of those inflatable air people. 

Our Eyes are on You
Amidst these days of distress, I was led somehow by the Lord to II Chronicles 20, which seemed to have been written personally to and for me in my circumstances (verses 8ff).
·      What should we do “If calamity comes upon us, we will stand in Your presence and cry out to You in our distress and You will hear us and save us.  We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” [and NOT on the calamity or the distress].
·      What does God say?  “Listen – this is what the Lord says, ‘do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s; take up your positions, stand firm, and see the deliverance the Lord will give you…do not be afraid;  do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them.  The Lord will be with you.’  As they set out Jehosephat said, "Listen – have faith in God and you will be upheld."
·      What does God do?  “As they began to sing and praise,” giving thanks to the Lord for His steadfast love, the Lord caused all their enemies to destroy each other, so that by the time God’s people arrived at the scene of the battlefield, the battle was over, and all God’s people needed to do was to walk around and pick up treasures.  God gave them blessings to take home, rather than wounds.

The Difference
I am again learning the difference between facts and truth. While the facts of the current circumstances of several of our children’s lives may seem ‘no different’ than they would have been, the truth is that ‘there IS a battle,’ and that God uses us and others called alongside, to colabor with Him, in His battle for their lives and souls. I trust it is His intent to rebuild and restore these precious treasures, created for His glory and His purposes.  They, like us, are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  The rebuilding is so demanding that at times, we as parents identify with the words of those in Nehemiah’s day who also grew weary, ‘the strength of those who build the wall is failing,  There is too much rubble.  By ourselves we will not be able to build the wall. (Nehemiah 4:10)’  [the walls of the temporal and eternal home that we all need.]  And we are encouraged by Nehemiah’s advice:  ‘do not be afraid – remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your .. sons, your daughters, your wives, your homes.

We Hope in You at Home

The process of rebuilding the broken walls of our children’s lives often resembles that process for rebuilding the wall in Nehemiah: “the work is great and we are widely separated…from one another.  Where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally, and our God will fight for us. (4:20).  It is our prayer that God uses the upcoming HOPE AT HOME 2011 CONFERENCE  to bring all of us who are called as spiritual and literal fathers and mothers to adoption and fostering, closer to one another – no longer ‘widely separated’ -- as we together experience the rest that comes as the Lord fights for us and for our families.
I will close with a story about this past week.  The same day that the Lord was encouraging me with the truths from II Chronicles described above, my dear friend Beth, (who along with her husband Stephen will be speaking and ministering at Hope at Home 2011), was nudged to text me a number of these same verses (and she wrote a beautiful blog post on the same topic!).  Now, what is the chance that both of us would just happen to be reading the same passage on the same day and that our texts and emails would be criss-crossing? Being such a good teacher, when the Lord wants to impress us with His truth, He often repeats it.  Then several days later, Brian and I had some time for prayer with our pastor Greg and Michelle (who will also be speaking and ministering at the Hope at Home 2011 Conference) and a few other friends, and the Lord gave Greg exactly the same passage of hope for us in these trials with our daughters that He had spoken to me after our son Jonny was killed while we were on a family bike ride a number of years ago:  we “rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.  He has delivered us …, and He will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope (II Cor 1:9-10).”  Again, the repetition and reminders of God’s voice (Psalm 29!), precisely for us.  

Please join us in praying that everyone who comes to this Hope at Home conference will experience God’s specific and precise encouragement, custom-made with mathematical precision, for our current circumstances. Just like He has done for me this week.  Just like He did for me just now as I am typing the closing words of this post…one of the daughters who is struggling called me for the first time in over a week to tell me where she is and how she is, and I had the chance to say, once again, “I love you and God loves you.”  God is fighting the battles for us. And because of His great love, we can say, together, the last 4 words of Psalm 33: 

 We hope in you’ at home; and we are only at home when we hope in You.  

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