behind and before.

Posted by Tori on Jul 12, 2011 in a good word.

Psalm 139:5-6 says:

5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

It is so freeing to rest in the truth that we are hemmed in on all sides with the incredible grace of our Savior. It completely takes the pressure off and removes (even though sometimes it’s only momentary) my temptation to worry when I am faced with the unknown.

Philip Yancey wrote, “A person who lives in faith must proceed on incomplete evidence, trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”

This is so beautifully stated. As I look back over my life in reverse, at the forks in the road I faced and the decisions I have made, I can see so clearly God’s design. It all makes perfect sense. In the present, however, as my story is being written, I am working with an incomplete, fragmented picture, yet I trust that God will be faithful to His promise and and claim my life for His glory. This is, in several areas, where we find ourselves as a family.

I have just finished reading Mary Beth Chapman’s book “Choosing to SEE.” It is such a beautiful story of grace and of trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse. God has stirred such undeniable passions in my heart and in William’s for ministry, specifically to university students, and for adoption, among other things. Following God in these specific things is definitely having serious implications on the way we live and on the decisions we make for our family. Our faith is being exercised in new ways and our heartbeat for his glory is beating with increased intensity.

The other day I was sharing about some decisions we are making in ministry and some research we are doing on foreign adoption with someone and their response was, “That’s so exciting. You’re at the age where anything is possible.”

Granted, they did not ever intend for me to pick apart their innocent statement the way my brain just naturally strips things down to the simplest form and examines every possible implication. But, I think it’s healthy to do that sometimes.

Is it age that causes me to believe that these things are possible for our family, or that anything is possible, for that matter? I certainly hope not. I hope it is my faith that informs my decisions and my trust in a God who is vast and incomprehensible that causes me to believe that He would accomplish these things in my family for His glory. I am encouraged by the faith of Abraham, who most today would not have considered to be “at the age where anything is possible” when he was blessed with a son.

This journey we are on as believers is a wild one! Our God is FAR beyond our capacity to comprehend, and so it makes sense to me that the intricate story He has for me, William, Ayden, Brooklyn, and Chelsea will be too. There’s a reason I’m not writing the book, and there’s a reason it’s not about me, but I am so privileged to be a part of it. I’m believing Him for BIG things.

This wild ride is full of fun and adventure, as well as pain and grief. Yet, He remains the same. At Maria Sue Chunxi Chapman’s memorial service, her brother, Caleb, said this:

The only analogy I can come up with is this: it’s like God is an abstract artist…and when you’re real close to a painting like this, it’s hard to focus, it’s blurred, and you can’t see what’s going on. You have to walk really far back, and then the whole painting comes into focus and you can see what the artist was doing. That’s what this experience is like for us. We’re just really, really close to this mess…but I think the farther we get away from it in time, the more we’re going to see this picture come into focus. Man, it’s a really big one too, so we’ll have to walk pretty far away.

Beautiful words and a beautiful image of what God is doing with each of us in extremely different ways. We have NO idea what He has for is in this life. But, I know that no matter the joy, the struggle, the pain, or whatever the process may be, I don’t want it any other way. All along the journey, whether we are experiencing extreme grief, whether we’re heading off to another country or unfamiliar place to do His work, or whether we’re flying halfway across the globe to meet the next member of our forever family, we can be CONFIDENT that we are hemmed in behind and before, and that His hand is on us.

Anything really is possible. There can be no failure. Our hope is sure.


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