God Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life
When I was on staff with Campus Crusade, the first point of their gospel tract, the Four Spiritual Laws, was, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”
Dr. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade, saw Christian life as an adventure with God. And, for his part, it was. God led him to leave seminary to start a campus ministry believing if he could reach the college student, he would impact the world.
His ministry has helped reach lost students and mobilize Christians for over 50 years.
My belief is that God truly has a wonderful plan for each of us. We serve a God that is alive and enjoys speaking to us. Jesus said My sheep know my voice (John 10:27). He also said His brothers and mother are those the hear His word and puts it into practice (Luke 8:21).
Just like Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David, Samuel, Paul, and so many stories in the Bible, God is calling each one of us into an adventure of faith He has planned out for us. As we listen to His voice, He gives us the word which is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105). This is how it has worked out for my wife and I.
God Has a Heart for Adoption
Let me tell you my family’s story of adoption. One fall day as I was on my hour commute back from work, I was flipping channels on the radio and stopped on the Focus on the Family broadcast. To be honest, I didn’t normally listen to Christian talk radio, but this time I stopped. Dr. Dobson was on and talking about adoption. I don’t remember any details of what he said, but I knew when I got home Allison and I needed to adopt.
Convenient how memory works. I had forgotten Allison’s commitment to adoption. More then years earlier, before we were even engaged, she told me she wasn’t sure if she would ever want to have kids, except she knew she would adopt a girl from China. As a teenager, she had read about the one-child policy in China and how girls were being left in the woods or in trash cans in preference to boys. As a teenage girl, she realized that could have been her if she had been born there.
When I got home, we quickly went from discussion to planning an adoption, and for the next year we spent over $20,000 and hours of paperwork and social work to get a dossier together, translated and sent.
As we eagerly awaited a call back from our adoption agency, we got exciting news… we were pregnant with our second child. This exciting news meant our adoption process had ended.
Just like any work, there are times when you have all the best planning in the world to have another variable come in and sideline the project.
God is a God of Second Chances
After Elizabeth turned one, our hearts were ignited once again with the desire to adopt. In that years’ time, our adoption agency stopped doing Chinese adoptions. This meant we had to start all the work over from the beginning: home studies, official documents, and another $20,000+.
Still our hearts were full. We started an adoption ministry at our church encouraging other families to consider adoption. We worked with the pastor to develop ideas on how to come alongside couples moving along this path. We even saw others go from start to finish in the process.
This time after getting everything to China, we heard back that we had a little girl placed to us. Her name was Qu Min, which we called Anna. She had a heart defect which had already been corrected through surgery. Finally, she was just 3 days older than Elizabeth, which meant it was like we were going to have twins.
We got excited about traveling to China to pick up our daughter. We celebrated. Our family celebrated with us. Then after a few weeks, our adoption agency contacted us to tell us China had already promised our daughter to some other family.
We were devastated, confused, and committed to fight it. I had some co-workers from China that I started talking to in order to draft a letter in reply.
God May Have Other Plans
One thing I now have learned is that sometimes God directs us in certain directions to move us into paths we would have never seen before. A couple days after we got the news that Anna would not live in our home, on the same morning as each other, God brought both my wife and I to the verse, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds (John 12:24).
I remember I was downstairs on the couch and my wife was upstairs in bed. Both of us were praying; both had this verse brought to mind. We knew we were to let Anna go.
God is a God of Resurrection
Our adoption agency said we could have the next placement, but our hearts were hurting. We felt Anna was our daughter and we grieved her and talked and prayed with our girls about her. But life went on from that point.
That is until three years later. God said for us to move to China. Seriously. When we follow a God who likes to talk, you never know what He may lead you to.
Immediately, we knew it was to work with orphan girls.
We started to research what happened to orphan kids when they left the orphanage. There wasn’t much data we found, except a study out of Russia. This study of what happens to orphans said 10% of all kids that age out of the orphanage committed suicide. While the boys often went into the military, 70% of the girls ended up in prostitution.
We found out that traffickers would know when these girls would be released from the orphanage and then go offer them a good sounding job, then trap them into prostitution.
Allison and I knew this was what God was sending up to China to fight. We were going there to create a family for Chinese orphan girls.
In under five years, we had accomplished more than we could have ever expected. If you are encouraged by our story, grab our book, out in the book, Abundant Living. You will be shown two hidden truths in the parable of the sower to release you into your own adventure with God.
Make a Long Story Short
I have shared other times our journey in China. The point of this story is how God has a wonderful plan. We started out with a desire to adopt a Chinese orphan girl into our home. Our vision was to rescue one child. God’s plan was to take us to China and effect many lives.
Our adventure to China introduced us to hundreds of people we got to minister to and minister with. We were able to get a farm that we transformed into a retreat center, so we could hire orphan girls during this transition, giving them a place to land, feed their hearts, and teach them skills to earn a living.
We had teams come to the farm from all of China, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States. God connected us to people from all over the world to raise awareness, prayers, and service to orphan girls.
In the end, God gave us a local Chinese couple to hand the work off to. In the midst of their ministry, God brought them a teenage girl that was on her third pregnancy. She didn’t want to get an abortion but was running out of options. They took her in, regularly brought her to her doctor’s appointments, and when she gave birth to her little girl, she wanted to give her up for adoption.
This precious couple said yes to the offer.
Again, in His great mercy God answered our heart to rescue a Chinese orphan girl. We thought she would be in our family, but we created a space for a family to be available to the one God wanted to rescue. And, I can’t explain how much joy this gives us.
Not Everyone is Called to China
Not everyone is called to move to China. Not everyone is called to adopt an orphan. But God has a specific journey for each of you.
God wants our lives to be an adventure. Just read Hebrews 11… without faith it is impossible to please God. Then the rest of the chapter explain the adventures people had living out their faith.
I feel there are people reading this that currently have dreams from God stirring in their hearts. They seem scary but something you want to pursue. Find someone to share them with. Ideally your spouse, but someone who knows you and can help you process these internal desires.
Let Me Pray for Us.
Lord, Jesus Christ, speak to us. May we clearly hear Your voice and commit in our hearts to follow. So many in the Bible we just going about their lives when you called them. Peter was fishing. Matthew was working the tax booth. Moses and David were watching the sheep. Elisha was in the fields. Gideon was hiding.
You came and changed everything. Each person here has given their lives to you. We are looking to follow You with our lives. Speak to us. May we know this wonderful adventure of knowing You personally.
None of us have missed out on Your best for us. None of us are second-class in Your kingdom.
Each of us are fellow saints. Trusted servants. Friends of God.
Each of us are worthy of significance because You deemed us as worthy. Worth is based on what someone is willing to pay and you paid your life for us. You are the lifter of our heads because you declared us worthy of BOLDLY COMING before your throne.
You see us as pure, clean vessels of righteousness. We lay ourselves at your feet because we love you.
I bless each one here with a flood of Your words in their lives. May these words come to us as we dream in the night, sit down for quiet times with you, or as we stop to eat our lunch. We love You.