I just finished reading surprised by children by Harold Myra. It is the story of how God led a white American (Norweigan) family to provide foster care and to adopt black children into their family. The children's stories are tragic and inspiring. Not all ended happily or should I say positively. Some stayed only a short while as toddlers then returned to live with their birth families. A few became a lifelong part of their family. Harold journals his journey as an older dad raising a second family as well as his thoughts and feelings on interacting with African-American culture in the 70's.
Being in youth work myself, I found much encouragement in hearing him tell of experiencing emotional wear and tear to the point of feeling ill, of needing solitude, yet finding inexplicable joy and delight through the children's questions and view on life and their need and acceptance of him as their father. He simply tells the story, but always brings it back to what God was doing in his heart and mind all the while.
Towards the final chapters Myra speaks of a French Christian from the 1600's named Fenelon and his book The Seeking Heart. The few excerpts he inlcuded have put me on a search to find and read the complete work.
"Do not resist what God brings into your life. Be willing to suffer. God prepares a cross for you that you must embrace withough thought of self-preservation." "Ouch," Harold says. Ouch indeed.
"See God's hand in the circumstances of your life... Nothing so shortens and soothes your pain as the spirit of nonresistance to your Lord. Do not reject the full work that the power of the cross could accomplish in you. "
"Embrace the difficult circumstances you find yourself in - even when you feel they will overwhelm you. Allow God to mold you through the events He allows to enter your life. The events of life are like a furnace for the heart."
"Never say, 'This is too much for me.' Depend on the Almighty. God's hand holds you. Do not try to look to far ahead, but live moment by moment before God. Let your anxiety flow away like a stream."
"Faith holds us in continual suspense - We're constantly 'up in the air'. We must simply let God act and let His will unfold."
Duh. Yet so hard to remember.
Myra comments that if the Christian life is the stuff of the Gospels then magnificent adventure equals big trouble. He says, "The adventure of faith draws us into the mystery and includes great and mighty things. But often the greatest things in our lives are rather small.
We just have to have eyes to see..."