In the stunning city of Namur, Belgium stands a Roman Citadel. Carved into the side of a mountain it spirals upward, grand and beautiful...and menacing when you consider the battles that were fought in and around it. The walls are huge, tall and thick and covered in moss and vines that have softened the imposing structure. It is now a playground for families, a scenic place for a picnic, a stop for history enthusiasts, and a thing of beauty in it's architecture that evolved over hundreds of years.
We were told that the Citadel is filled with tunnels, most now blocked or impassible. It is an intricate maze running through the mountain, so intricate that the Romans built all their citadels with the same pattern of tunnels so the soldiers would be able to find their way around when they were moved to a new post.
No one in their right mind would venture in without knowing the way out.
A few days ago my youngest daughter celebrated her 8th birthday. The evening before, I checked my phone and noticed that I had a Timehop notification. If you don't know what that is (I'm sure my mom and mother-in-law would appreciate an explanation!) it is an app that pulls up what you posted on Facebook on this day 1, 2, 3 or however many years ago. It often gives me warm fuzzies as I look at photos of my babes when they were little or see what was "big news" in my life when I had toddlers.
On this day 5 years ago, I had posted the following:
"Tonight we have our first home study visit. Here we go!"
What I didn't know at the time, and just realized this week, is the timing of that visit.
You see, my daughter's birthday was assigned by the courts. She was born in a mud hut in a remote village of Wolaita, Ethiopia. They don't have calendars, they live by seasons. The day she was relinquished became her legal birthday.
The day after we started our home study.
For our sovereign God, He was already at work.
Before my little girl lost everything, He had already prompted the hearts of her forever family to pursue her. Never, not even for a moment, was He surprised or shaken by what was happening to this precious 3 year old girl. Never, not even for a moment, was she alone or unloved.
Before her grief began, her Heavenly Father had put into place a rescue plan.
He always does.
So, because of this truth, I know...
that my dear friend who is facing the death of her husband, her God-given covering who loved her so well, never, not even for a moment is she alone.
that God is not surprised or shaken by the job layoff that has my brother reeling and on his knees in desperate prayer.
that the woman who lost her daughter and her husband within two weeks of each other, she is covered by the One who sees the beginning and the end all at the same time and promises us that in the end it will all be worth it.
that the family whose son refuses to accept their love, whose early suffering has caused him to withhold trust and affection, serves a loving Father who knows the key to his heart...and theirs.
God is good.
His rescue plan was in place before this trauma entered their lives.
We can trust Him when sorrows come because He bore them on the cross.
The sorrows have been conquered. They do not get the last word. God is the ultimate designer of the Citadel, knowing every nook and cranny and always knowing the way out.
Our Light of the world surely lights our way. Our Father who fashioned us from dust, he KNOWS we are dust and he holds us together when everything around us is falling apart. This world is not our home and we can trust that, through the dark tunnels and mazes of life, He is leading us onward and out into the sunlight...into the SON who is the LIGHT.
That High, Impassible Wall? It is only impassible if you are alone, without a guide who knows the way through the tunnels hidden within.
I pray that, if you are reading this, you realize who that guide is. It is Jesus. Take his hand.
He will lead you.