When the Child Becomes Teacher

By Cortney Donelson

Mark 10:15 (NIV)
Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child
will never enter it.”

Several weeks ago, I experienced a gigantic lesson in faith. My seven year old son had taken his action figures outside to play in the natural area in our backyard. One of the action figures wielded two tiny black guns roughly the size of toothpicks. As any “competent” mother would have done, I called out, “Don’t lose those in the mulch!” as my son waltzed out the door.

Fast forward forty-five minutes. A hysterical and sweaty boy ran through the back door crying, you guessed it, because he had lost one of the guns. He and our neighbor had spent the last twenty minutes looking for it. His friend had left for dinner, and my son was left broken-hearted. I swallowed the reaction to say, “I told you so,” and went outside to help him look for the needle in the haystack.

Fortunately, the boys had narrowed down the area to a circle about five feet in diameter. I bent down and started scanning the ground. My son was sitting on the deck crying. I looked at him, and my frustration melted. In that moment, God’s ever flowing mercy filled my heart. “Why don’t you trying praying,” I gently prodded him and turned back to my search, whispering my own pleading prayer. “God, I know this seems insignificant, but if you could just tell me where to look, we would really appreciate it.”

Within ten seconds, I found it! I ran over to my son and asked him if he had prayed. “No,” he choked out. “Well, I did,” I said as I handed him the tiny gun. “Now, let’s thank God!”

Now, fast forward six days. Our family was at our neighborhood pool, and one of my son’s water toys became lodged in the bottom of a water fountain bucket.  (Yes, losing things is a recurring theme in our household!) The water would pour out of the bucket every time it filled up, but the toy was relentlessly stuck. For twenty minutes we watched as we played in the pool, hoping the toy would become dislodged. It didn’t, and we started to pack up to leave. It was then my son remembered my answered prayer from a few days before and immediately started asking God if He would intervene again. I instantly felt nervous. Twice in one week? I started to plan how to have the “God doesn’t always answer prayers with a yes” conversation. In short, my faith was weak.

Yet, my son’s faith was strong. Within five seconds, the toy spilled out in the waterfall of my son’s own answered prayer. I saw God smiling on my child that day. I heard Him also gently remind me through his Word in Mark 10:15, “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

My son and I had both experienced the same miracle of the found needle in the haystack. I thought that answered prayer was enough, and I didn’t expect it to happen again. My son’s response was the opposite. His faith grew, and he believed that God could, and would, strike twice – even in the same week and for the same prayer.

Matthew 7:8 promises, “For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened”.  It doesn’t say, “Just once… when you ask, you will receive.” It doesn’t promise, “Seek once and find, but the second or third times, you’re on your own.” There is no maximum capacity here.

My son’s belief of who God is was the more accurate version. He is the God of the impossible. He is the God of indescribable mercy. He is the God who keeps His promises.  So, let me ask you… How do you view God and prayer?

Prayer – Heavenly Father, thank You for Your valuable lessons. I want to have faith like a child! Please continue to remind me that nothing is impossible with You. Your mercy and love are so generous and undeserved, and I can pray and believe in miracles at all times and not just once in a while. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

From Russia with Love

By Cortney Donelson

Romans 8:18 (NLT)
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.”

Gut-wrenching pain. I know it well. If you or anyone you know has ever suffered through infertility, then you know the heartbreak that couples who are struggling with this issue experience.

My husband and I tried to have a baby for almost four years. There were scheduled “date nights” when neither one of us was really in the mood, countless injections of hormones, hot flashes, ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, ovulation kits, test tubes, medical procedures, books, new diets, tears, and yes… many prayers. Our friends didn’t know what to say to us, and our family didn’t know how to help us. In truth, there was nothing anyone could have said or done. It really was tough. We watched in bittersweet agony as several family members and friends became pregnant and started their families.

During those years, I would wake up at 5:00 am, sit on the floor, and pray in the empty room that we had designated for our nursery. I would plead with God for pregnancy. I couldn’t understand… “God, why are You saying ‘no”?

Finally, after four long years, I relented and changed the content of my prayers. My pleas to get pregnant became prayers of “Your will be done,” and “God help me accept whatever You have planned for us.” God, ease my grief! Help me live again! After all, I was not living well at this point. I had been allowing my unmet plans and dreams darken every facet of my life. I realized I could not continue down that path.

That is precisely when I was hit by “the 2×4”. On a ten-second walk into a restaurant, God quietly whispered in my ear, “Adopt”. It was just one word. A word that had previously been so painful that I couldn’t even say it out loud had, in that moment, become God’s answer. It was then that I released my desires and grasped onto God’s will.

Seven short months later, my husband and I traveled to Rostov, Russia to bring home our precious baby boy. It was our agency’s fastest adoption process in its history. Seriously… I heard God laughing. God had to hit me with that 2×4 in His perfect timing, and I had to be obedient right there in that restaurant parking lot… or we would have missed the greatest thing in our lives. We had to trust His will rather than our own as the best course for our lives. Just writing this brings me to tears. Please hear this! Had I not suffered as much as I did for those four years, I never would have relinquished my plan for His plan. I never would have met the chubby little baby waiting for me on the other side of the world… the one who has changed my world forever! God knew this as He caught every one of my tears during that time of agony.

Romans 8:18 says, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” Our trials and those painful experiences for which we agonize over now, pale in comparison to what God has in store for us in the future. There will be dark times that we just aren’t able to understand. There will be prayers answered with a “no” or “not yet”.

The purposes behind God’s plans may become evident later in our lives here on Earth, or it may be that we won’t fully understand until we are in all His glory, praising Him in His Kingdom of Heaven. Me? I think it is often both. Yet, I do know this: God’s perfect plan will be just that… perfect!

Prayer – Dear Lord, thank you for waiting patiently for me during my seasons of struggles. Thank you for listening to every cry, catching every tear, and answering every prayer. I am so grateful to have the promise of Your glory and all that You will reveal in Your time! I pray I continue to embrace my trials and know they can be blessings. You are in complete control. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!