A Letter to Noël Saying Yes to Adoption

Monday, November 6, 1995, 11:12 PM

Dear Noël,

With confidence in the all-sufficient future grace of God, I am ready and eager to move ahead with the adoption of Talitha Ruth. I want to thank you that during these years, when your heart has yearned to adopt a daughter, you have not badgered me or coerced me. You have been wonderfully patient. You have modeled faith in the sufficiency of prayer. You have always expressed support of me and my ministry even if we should never adopt. You have been reasonable in all our discussions and have come forth with your rationale only when asked. You have honored my misgivings as worthy of serious consideration. God was good to put it in Phoebe’s heart to call about this child when she did, and not before we were ready.

I realize more than ever that “the mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” This decision is not merely a tabulation of pros and cons. I would be deceiving myself to think that. Yet I am persuaded that this decision to adopt honors God more than not adopting. To my perspective it seems to be the path that will “spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.” I believe it will bless Bethlehem and not hinder our work there. I believe it is the path of the greatest love for the greatest number. And therefore I have confidence that God is pleased with it.

I choose it not under constraint or with any reservation of commitment. I relinquish every thought that, because you initiated this idea, you will bear the blame for the burdens it will bring. As with our choice to have children in the first place and with our choice to go to Germany and our choice to leave Bethel and enter the pastorate there is a common and united commitment to all that God will be for us in this path, including any “frowning providence” that he plans to sanctify us. I believe our eyes are open, though we have learned that the toothache expected and the toothache experienced are not the same. We have come through enough to believe that God’s future grace will be sufficient. His mercies are new every morning and there will be mercies for every weight and wonder on this new path of our lives.

I thank God for you. I enter with you gladly on this path. Whether we live to see our daughter grown or not, we will have done well to take her in. Life is very short, whether 12 hours, like Ashley Hope, or 50 years like me, or 76 years like my father, or 94 years like Crystal Anderson. What matters is not that we do all we might have done or all we dreamed of doing, but that, while we live, we live by faith in future grace and walk in the path of love. The times are in God’s hands, not ours.

With this common conviction we will, God willing, embrace our new daughter and give ourselves, with all the might that God inspires in us, to love her into the kingdom. May the Lord establish the plans of our hearts, and bring Talitha Ruth, (and the future husband God already knows) into deep and lasting fellowship with Christ. May she be an ebony broach of beauty around your aging neck, and a crown of purity and joy on your graying head.

I love you,

Johnny

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