When Hope Becomes Flesh

When Hope Becomes Flesh--Part 2

God wastes nothing. Every heartache is an ingredient to be used and savored as part of a full and complete life.

Donna Willey (www.donnawilley.com) has co-laypastored with her husband for 17 years. This article is adapted from her new book, Empty: From Despair to Deliverance

“I can see how small I am, Lord, and that I don’t know as much as I thought I did. What else can I say? I will put my hand over my mouth and keep silent.” Job 40:4, Clear Word

My stillborn baby's death left me with heartache too deep for words. Eventually our church family set out to find us a baby in need of adoption, hoping to rescue me from my broken heart. I’ll never forget the phone call from our pastor: “Rod and Donna, we have a baby for you.”

Hope had become flesh! A sweet, newborn baby girl was waiting for us at the hospital. After six years of praying and waiting, we were ready. From the moment I laid eyes on little Nicole Marie, my heart was taken. She grasped my finger with her tiny hand and gazed into my face with big, brown eyes. I couldn’t stop praising God.

For ten weeks, we held this precious little one. I invested everything in her. For ten weeks, the smile on my face didn’t fade. And then another call came.

“The birth mother has rescinded her decision; she wants the baby back.” I’d have given my arm or leg, a lung, money—anything to keep her. The doorbell rang, and without apology a woman took the baby out of my arms and walked away, leaving me emotionally paralyzed, helpless, and hopeless.

Rod had a one-way monologue with God in the back yard: “How dare You! If You are there. . . . What have we done to deserve this? . . . What kind of God are You? I thought You cared. How do You stand by and watch our lives become empty . . . again?”

I felt the coldness as the enemy tried to persuade me into his spiritual POW camp. Night after night I cried to God, “Why, did You bring me this far and then drop me in this cesspool of brokenness? How can You stand on high and watch this? Where is Your justice? If this is what mercy looks like, I don’t need it.”

God was silent. Often He chooses silence as the incubator to grow faith.

My heart had been broken by miscarriage, shattered by hysterectomy, and now crushed over Nicole! A threefold loss was more than I could bear. I demanded answers from my God. I screamed at him. I withdrew my trust; I renounced every praise I had once given. I faced each day from behind self-made bars of depression and anger. I dismantled friendships—there was nothing to talk about.

And then God began asking me a few questions: “Where were you when I created the world? If you know the answer, tell me. Who stretched the measuring line over the globe and decided how large it should be? Surely you know! What foundation does the earth rest on? Who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and the heavenly host shouted for joy? How were the ocean boundaries determined, and how were the waters held back when they burst forth from the womb of the earth? Where were you when I made the clouds to cover the earth and used them to wrap the earth in darkness, when I established boundaries for the seas, setting its doors and gates in place?” (Job 38:4-10, Clear Word).

Then He asked, “Donna, how long will you contend with Me and question My wisdom?”

From that moment on, I could only stand with Job. Who am I to question You, my God, my only hope? I believe . . . help my unbelief.

God often asks probing questions of those who are holding on, waiting for a miracle. I have come to know His questions as defining moments—the ones that come just before a miracle is born. Often our depression and disappointments become our excuse, and before God delivers a miracle, we must answer His question: Are you satisfied with where you are, or do you really want to change? “Donna,” He said, “Do you want to be healed— healed from self-pity and distrust?” The years had emotionally crippled me. Healing would take a decision on my part. It would take newly born trust.

“Do you really want to get well?” Jesus asked me.“ Then take up your bed and walk.” My bed was filled with heartaches and disappointments, and Jesus wanted me to pick them all up—just like the man at the pool of Bethesda—and accept them. No pretending that all was well, no more emotional walls of protection. Without a baby, a very important room in my home was empty, as was my heart. And Jesus longed to fill it.

God wastes nothing. Every heartache is an ingredient to be used and savored as part of a full and complete life.

When we read the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand from a small boy’s lunch, we stand amazed at the miracle of multiplication. We often stop at this point of the story, stunned at the power of God. But we miss the best part of that day—the miracle of the leftovers, the part that’s so often thrown away, the part in which we see little value. But not Jesus. He said, “Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted.”

While waiting for God to heal your broken heart and fill your emptiness, hold onto Jesus and stand confident that He will waste nothing. It seemed like an eternity, but while I was holding on, Jesus was collecting the fragments of my life—the injustice from the hospital, the shame and humiliation, my losses and pain, all my broken dreams—to create a personal miracle. A miracle of “leftovers” that would truly . . . take my breath away.