If you, like us, are in one of the many waiting stages of the adoption process, may I recommend reading Psalm 90? (Actually, I recommend reading just about any psalm, but for the sake of today's post, let's go with Psalm 90.)
Lord, you have been our dwelling place. Our dwelling place. We can't wait for the day when our dwelling place and our son's dwelling place are one and the same. But the psalmist reminds us that today is that day: we are both at home in the Lord. He is every bit as covered by God's loving protection and grace today as he will be on the day we finally hold him in our arms.
For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. It seems to work the other way in the adoption process, right? A single day can feel like a thousand years when you are waiting to meet your child... but God is not a slave to time like us. That is not to say that he doesn't care how many days separate us from our children, but rather that he is beyond time and not bound by it as we are.
You sweep men away... we are consumed... all our days pass away... we finish our years... they quickly pass, and we fly away. These verses about our fleeting life might sound morbid and depressing, but I find comfort beneath the surface. Whatever we are going through, and whatever our children are going through or have already been through, these things will pass. As Paul puts it, "for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us a glory that outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. How different is this prayer than the one I have caught myself praying sometimes: "Lord please number your days aright because I am so wise and know better than you when things ought to happen..."
Relent, O Lord! How long will it be? I love the honesty and passion of the psalmist here. It gives me freedom to pour out my real feelings to God... but having just prayed the prayer above, I am freshly reminded that no matter how I may feel, God is the source of all wisdom and I cannot know what is right unless he teaches me. In this verse I learn that my feelings my be valid and even valuable, but they are not the foundation of my faith.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. I want this verse to say "Satisfy us in the morning with a call from our caseworker," but it doesn't say that. It says that the source of our satisfaction, joy, and gladness is God's unfailing love -- not the fulfillment of our hopes in the form of government approvals, court dates, and plane tickets. God will give those things (He will, he will, he will! I believe, Lord help my unbelief), but those things are not prerequisites for our satisfaction, joy, and praise to God.
May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. The psalmist prays for his generation and the next, and the two are inextricably linked. The work of God among a generation of parents produces the splendor of God among their children.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us -- yes, establish the work of our hands. It is a generally recognized fact that adopting a child is a lot of work. As an adoptive parent, it can be tempting to think that this whole crazy, messy, beautiful thing is happening because we put in the work to make it happen. The psalmist doesn't leave any room for that line of thinking. This final prayer reminds us that yes, our hands have work to do, but no - we do not make anything happen. The favor of the Lord is our only hope, and we cannot lay claim to his favor by any merit of our own. Only by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ can we claim favor with God - not by our work, but by his redeeming work on the cross.
I'll wrap this up with a little language lesson. In Spanish the words for "wait" and "hope" are the same: esperar. As my Spanish-speaking friend reminded me the other day, "No puedes esperar sin esperanza."