We see but middles.
So wrote Andree Seu, one of my favorite-ever columnists.
Things that seem good can end up bad.
Things that seem bad can end up good.
We see only the middle.
Things appear opposite of their true condition for a while, she writes.
There are people who think things are going badly for them, when actually things are going quite well, but they do not perceive it yet.
Think of the life of Joseph.
The favorite of his father: That's good!
Jealous brothers sell him as a slave: That's bad.
Top of the heap at Potiphar's house: That's good!
Sent to prison for something he didn't do: That's bad.
And so on. So is the story good or bad?
What was evil, God used for good.
Romans 8:28. It's all good for those who love God. But now, we see only middles.
I've been thinking about that a lot with Lily's story. The timing of when we brought her home, last summer, is still affecting us now. We went through delay after delay after delay. Unnecessary, ridiculous delays. And I knew then that those delays would affect us now. As they indeed are.
We want to go home this summer. It's been over two years since we've been home. The only family members who have met Lily are my parents. We want to go home!
But the delay in bringing her home meant a delay in getting her adoption finalized. No finalization means no passport. No passport means no bringing her out of the country.
And now, I am seeing only middles.
All those delays last summer: That's bad.
But in April we got assigned a great judge with a reputation for being pro-adoption, and getting court hearings done quickly: That's good!
We got our first hearing the very next week: That's good!
Even though the social worker, Gil [who was in Kenya], and the paperwork were not at that hearing, the judge still started the adoption process: That's good!
The next hearing was set for June 6th. The judge, the social worker, the paperwork all showed up: That's amazing!
At this point, I started thinking, Yes! God's going to do it! He's going to fix all those problems from the delays last summer and get us through a lightning fast court process!
At the June 6th hearing, the judge heard our case, but put off the ruling for another week: That's.....disappointing, but not too bad.
So we went back June 13th--last Wednesday. And he said that the ruling still has not been made, so come back this Tuesday: That's getting kind of bad. We are running out of time.
From a few months ago, we thought our chances would be slim to take Lily home this summer, so we made plans to take two separate trips: Gil and Josiah would go for two weeks in July, and Grace and I would go for two weeks in August. We bought plane tickets....hoping that we might have to change them. And then when we got this great judge, and he brought us in so quickly, I really got my hopes up. Yes! It's going to work out.
So I wonder: What, exactly, is going on here, God? Are you making this happen, or aren't you?
But I have learned: He is making something happen. It has purpose; it has meaning, and there is rhyme and reason to it. I just can't see it, and I might not ever see anything but the middle for a long time.
And that's okay. Because even the good stuff won't necessarily last, and I know the bad stuff won't. So circumstances don't really matter, do they? What matters is God, and His promises, and that one day, when we see the End, it will definitely, utterly, be All Good.