What are the odds?

This week our church is hosting a sports camp in one of our downtown schools. The goal has been to move into a community with love instead of expecting the community to come to us.

The kids in my group have had it rough. One of boys has never met his dad. Another suffers from a debilitating birth defect and lost his mom this past year. It's awful to think of the struggles they are going to have to face in life. The odds are clearly against them.

Playing with kids comes easy for me. So does loving them. Ministering to the deepest needs of their hearts does not. Deep needs take time, and I have suddenly just shown up in their emotional neighborhood, whispering hopes that are big, foreign, and hard to comprehend. These kids are small and sometimes slow. They have emotional defects and a low attention span. They get wiggly and restless when old tales are told, not understanding fully how they could fit into such big shoes.

Thank goodness for our youth minister, who is a former elementary teacher (AKA: a master of translation). Last night he segued with the life story of Wilma Rudolph. Brilliant.

Wilma had lots of health problems as a child, but she couldn't access fair treatment at a local hospital because she was an African American born before integration. When she contracted polio, it looked like she would never walk. But through the devoted care of her mom, and through personal dedication, she overcame her handicaps and became an athlete. She eventually won three Olympic gold medals.

Wilma beat the odds. That made sense in a soundbyte, and the kids got it. (Thanks, Mat!) Then we played ball, made paper megaphones, played more ball, and sat in the floor and ate a bunch of cookies. That made sense, too.

At the end of the night, we huddled up around the story of Gideon. I have heard that story many times, but it came to life in light of the night's focus.

Gideon had some pretty tough odds, too. He was leading Israel's army against Midian. Midian had 135,000 soldiers and Israel had 32,000. So basically, every Israelite would have to take out four Midianite soldiers. 'Sounds like a good time for some reinforcements.

But instead of beefing up the ranks, God said Israel had TOO MANY soldiers. (Seriously... too many?) So, He told everyone who was scared to go home, and 22,000 guys packed up. This left Israel 10,000 soldiers to fight 135,000.

God said that was too many still. (Seriously... too many still?) So He took them down to the water and sifted them. When He was done, there were only 300 left. 300 to fight 135,000.

What are the odds now? They are laughable. They are impossible. But God knew that His power shines the brightest when human odds stink.

Sports camp is supposed to encourage the kids who show up, and I really hope it did. But last night also had a pretty big impact on me.

Over and again through our adoption process, we haven't been adequate. We haven't had enough courage. We haven't had enough knowledge. We haven't had enough money. We haven't had enough room. We never seemed to have enough soldiers to fight Midian. And as the process moves forward, our emotional and physical resources continually seem ridiculous in the face of impossible challenges.

Yet, God has shown up in our neighborhood, whispering hopes that are big, foreign, and hard to comprehend. I am small and sometimes slow. I have emotional defects and a low attention span. I get wiggly and restless when the old tales are told, not understanding fully how I could fit into such big shoes. I just want to sit in the floor and eat cookies.

The odds are against me. But my God is big.

Maybe this is exactly how it's supposed to be.

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About This Blog

Welcome to our family’s adoption journey. As you read, you will see us stumble and take wrong paths. You will see our hopes surge and fall. You will see the gaps in our humanity, and how our God realigns us to His purposes over and again. We think the messiness of this process is important. Sometimes walking with God isn’t a neat, linear package that can be summarized in bullet points. More often, life ebbs and flows around our plans, while God works His sovereign wonders from it all. We are learning so much through this journey. And we are super excited about our new son. If you’d like to join us, we’d love to have you along for the ride.

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