I was crying. It was not a pretty, dotting-your-eyes-gently-with-a-handkerchief cry, either. It was a big, sad, ugly cry. My friend sat beside me on the floor. She knew that I was crying for my son.
We’ve recently adopted a seven-year-old boy from China. He came to us with the clothes on his back and a small bag of candy. But he also came to us with invisible baggage from a life lived in an orphanage without a family.
Long before we met him, he experienced several medical challenges, including an open-heart surgery with no one by his side. As a result, his spirit is often restless, and his body is filled with anxiety. It’s difficult for him to understand that he now has parents and three sisters who love him. In fact, it’s been a struggle for all of us.
I looked up at my friend with a tear-stained face and said, “I don’t know how to help my son. I’m his mom, and I don’t know what to do.” I felt so helpless—and sometimes I still do.
My husband and I want to comfort our son and help him adjust to life in our family. He is such a smart and sweet boy, but he has endured much trauma in his young life. His past—plus the present struggle of understanding our language and his ever-changing emotions—has created a difficult situation for us all.
In this season, one thing has become very clear: I need to draw close to God. Knowing this, I have sought comfort in God’s Word continually. My friend has comforted me as well, often reminding me of God’s truths—yet I continue at times to feel that God is far from me.
Have you ever felt this way?
We’re not alone. King David felt this way too. He faced many challenges in his life. The Bible shows us his despair. “Do not abandon me, O Lord,” he said. “Do not stand at a distance, my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord my savior” (Psalm 38:21–22).
David was called “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), yet he felt far from God too. That brings me comfort.
But even when I feel alone, like David, I must never forget the truth that God has not abandoned me. He is near, and His promises of victory always remain steadfast.
I write God’s never-failing truths on my hands. In hard times, I remind myself that that is the very time I must press in and draw close to God. Psalm 143:6 says, “I stretch out my hands to You; my soul longs for You, as a parched land” (NASB).
David paints a picture of a person stretching to get as close to God as possible. That is what I must do. That is what we all must do when we are overwhelmed and feel far from God. We must pour ourselves into His Word and cry out to Him. “In my distress, I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free” (Psalm 118:5).
And then there’s Psalm 40:1–4: “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord. Oh, the joys of those who trust in the Lord.”
As David drew closer to God, his praise for God increased, and he discovered a new song. A heart that stretches out to God becomes a joyful one.
My son’s favorite psalm is Psalm 103. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name” (NKJV). To hear my son sing these words is like rain on a withered flower. God uses my son (even with his limited English) to remind me to praise Him in the midst of a challenging time in our family.
So today, I praise Him. And I am hopeful.
God will give my husband and me wisdom to parent this blessing He has given us. I praise God for the victories He has already provided for my son—a good medical report, the ability to attend school, and learning to read are just a few of these victories. The way he adores playing with his sisters as he learns about the love of family is a real miracle in these early months.
One day, I will see my son fully grown into the man God intends. In the meantime, I will continually seek Him and praise God for His faithfulness. I will press on in His strength and rest in His goodness. And I will bless His holy name.
Written by Kristi Dews Dale