Sometimes I get so caught up in singing the praises of foster parenting (because there are many to be sung) that I ignore the fact that it actually is difficult at times. I think that the best comment regarding foster parenting that I’ve heard lately came from Reid Lehman, the CEO of Miracle Hill Ministries in Greenville, SC. He was speaking about the need for foster parents, specifically the need for the Church to fill this role, and he closed with the comment—“If you decide to become a foster parent, I can promise you one thing. Your heart will be broken. But it’s worth it.”
From a conventional wisdom standpoint, that might be the worst sales pitch ever; however, it doesn’t lessen the truth of his statement. Your heart will break–but it’s always worth it. Perhaps this is why so many people make comments like “I just don’t understand how you can do that.” Why would we set ourselves up to be broken?
Lately, I’ve been asking myself, “Why DO we do this?” I could rattle off a laundry list of trite answers like, “We’re just trying to make a difference even, if we only have them with us for a short time”. I’ll be honest, if the reason were that simple, we could find other activities that would make us feel good about ourselves.
Just last Sunday, God showed the answer in the form of a Sunday School lesson I had the privilege to teach. The lesson revolved around Philippians 4:6-7, which says:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
After reading those verses it was clear. We’re not foster parents because we have an aching conscience that needs soothing. We don’t care for these children because it’s the latest trend.
We are foster parents because God has called us to be foster parents.
If we lived a trouble-free life of ease, would it be hard for people to understand why we’re peaceful? Nope. It would be logical. And if everyone could logically understand our sense of peace, why would we need for the “peace of God, which transcends all understanding”?
We wouldn’t. That’s the point.
We’re called to be foster parents because God knows it will place us in many instances that bring fear, doubt, questioning, strife, and pain. Since foster parenting is a choice (in obedience to God’s calling, of course), we are essentially volunteering to put ourselves through situations and emotions that don’t make sense. Human nature tells us to avoid these at all costs. This is why most people don’t understand, and it is precisely why God provides His peace that is beyond understanding. When we exhibit this peacefulness in the hard times, He shines! We have no choice but to give Him the glory.
We’re called to be light to a darkened world, but if we only serve God where it’s comfortable and easy, it’s like lighting a candle outside on a sunny day. Sure, there’s light, but does anyone really stop to take notice?
After realizing that God promises to give peace in the most difficult situations, I understand a little better why He tells us to not be anxious, but to pray with thanksgiving. If our obedience puts us in a place where we are utterly dependent on God to find peace, isn’t that dependence—and His promise to provide—worth being thankful for?
I say yes.