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The Gospel for Real Life - comp_01_2

[The photo above was taken four days before Daniel's death with the intended purpose that it testify to the glory of the Gospel in the midst of suffering. The Gospel is indeed for real life.]

Yesterday’s post dealt with the crucifixion side of our backstory. In His infinite wisdom, God often leads His children through crucifixion-like experiences—and crucifixion is always dark and terrifying. But because of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, our little “s” stories of crucifixion eventually give way to resurrection, if not in this life, certainly in the next (Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Somehow, because of Jesus and the big “S” Story of redemption, all Christian suffering is redemptive. Occasionally, God even provides us with tangible confirmation that our suffering is indeed redemptive.

Almost a year after Daniel’s death, we believed God was leading us to adopt again. So, we began our second adoption journey—a journey that didn’t waste any time getting started.

A week after we informed our adoption attorney that we wanted to adopt again, we received a phone call at 9:30 PM from our attorney (both my wife and I were on our way to bed when the phone rang). “Dan,” he said, “a little baby boy was born today. Would you and Melissa be interested in adopting him? I can give you five minutes to decide.”

Before I hung up the phone to share the news with Melissa, I asked, “When would we be able to go get him?” “Tomorrow,” he answered.

To make a short story shorter, after madly putting the baby room together that night, we drove three hours the next morning to bring our fourth child home.

We named our newest son, Noah Daniel. We chose the name “Noah” because it means “rest,” and we wanted our third son’s name to remind us of the eternal rest that God had given our first son, Daniel.

For seven years now, Daniel has known only absolute joy and the perfect presence of Christ and the fellowship of the saints. He has never again felt the pain of unremitting seizures, never lacked, never been afraid, never doubted, never been disappointed, never felt alone. Not once in seven years! The moment Daniel died he entered into the rest of Jesus. We wanted Noah’s name to be a redemptive reminder that God had given Daniel rest.

Back to the story: after three hours of driving, we finally arrived at the hospital where Noah Daniel was waiting for us. We signed several documents, met with a social worker, and took quite a few pictures as preparations were made to bring him home.

It was finally time to head home. When we got to the front door of the hospital, we were confronted by a torrential downpour. As I sprinted out to get the car, I remember thinking, “Can you believe it? We’re bringing Noah home in a torrential downpour!”

I pulled the car around under the portico, put Noah in, and began to head home. As soon as we turned left out of the hospital parking lot, both Melissa and I were greeted by a full rainbow that perfectly straddled the road on which we were driving. It had stopped raining and God had given us a rainbow.

In that moment we knew that God had provided us with tangible confirmation that Daniel’s suffering was indeed redemptive. Without suffering and death, there cannot be the joy of redemption. This sequence of suffering, death, then joy, is the Story of the gospel. Although Noah’s adoption was certainly not a resurrection, the rainbow served as a wonderful, though fleeting, glimpse of the joy that comes with resurrection. In God’s inscrutable wisdom, He ordained not only that Daniel die after three years of unrelenting suffering, but also that we experience the joy of Noah’s entrance into our family through adoption on the other side of Daniel’s death.

Now, as a family that God brought together through suffering, we eagerly await the joy of the future resurrection, or, as Paul puts it in Romans 8:23, our adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Our Family

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