Sunday, August 26, 2012

Seven years ago....

I've been seeing a lot of posts on face-book this weekend about the irony that this new hurricane, Isaac, is predicted to hit seven years to the day after Hurricane of the most devastating natural disasters many of us have ever had to experience....and I had to smile.

Seven - it means completion. It signals the end of something. Think about it - the week has seven days.  After creating the world, on the seventh day God rested. Seven years of plenty were replaced by seven years of famine (and I'm hoping that also means seven years of "famine" also will be replaced by seven years of plenty!) In the Bible, the seventh year also marked a year of jubilee. Seven - pretty significant number when you think about it.

Personally, I have my own "seven reference" that illustrates this completion for me. Some who know our story know that many years ago we adopted a baby boy and had him for over 7 months when the adoption "went wrong" and we lost him. (Hmmmm - there's that 7 again. Never really noticed that before.) We experienced our own "personal hurricane." To say that we were devastated doesn't even begin to cover the story. All that I knew of God and how life was supposed to work was shaken. My marriage was beaten, my hope was destroyed, and I literally shook my fist at God and told Him if that is Who He is, I did not want to serve Him. 

Anyone who knows God's mercy won't be surprised by what happened next. The very next day, God poured out His love in such a tangible way that He showed me I had no idea Who He is....and the healing began.

No, we did not get some sort of miracle phone call that returned our son to us. Instead, we felt God's love carry us through the next days, weeks, months....years. We grew. We never forgot that sweet child - whose middle name was Isaac by the way - but we learned to lean more and more on Christ and trust that whatever He had for us was worth it all. 

Seven years after we had handed over that sweet baby boy, something happened that became another "timeline" moment of our lives. 

One night while my husband was at work, the phone rang. I had been sitting on the couch eating Oreos and drinking milk so I answered the phone with a semi-full mouth. "Hello" I mumbled. When the caller asked if this was Donna Sumrall, I assumed the voice on the other end of the phone was that of a tele-marketer and to be honest was a little annoyed. Then as the call went on, I realized I was talking to a family member of the little boy we had brought home to be our son so many years before. She had called simply to let me know he was okay...that he was growing into a beautiful young man and that he and his mom were now doing well. She remembered my husband asking that this child be raised to know the Lord, and she just wanted to let us know that he was, indeed, in church and growing to know and love God.

Somehow at the end of this call, I knew a chapter of our life was closing. It was finished. I did not quit caring or praying for this child, but I knew this chapter of our life was done.

Those who know our story also know that the next year we were blessed by God to bring home our sweet daughter and joy and laughter filled our home in a fresh new way. We truly began a new chapter - one that could not have ever happened had we not gone through the previous 7 that could not have happened if we had not allowed God to shape us and grow us and carry that would be so much more precious that we could have ever imagined.

The past seven years, for many, have been like the seven years we went through after losing our son. At times, they have held more pain than we thought we could bear. At times, we have grasped at hope in desperation only to have it seemingly ripped from our hands. We have looked around and wondered how could this be.

I looked it up and among other things, seven in the Bible means refinementThe number seven symbolizes God's perfection, His sovereignty and holiness. In the Hebrew, 7 is shevah. It is from the root savah, to be full or satisfied, have enough of. 

Bible scholars could tell you so many ways that the number 7 is significant....Most people consider it to be a "lucky" number, but I have to be honest. Seven to me will always signal an end and the number that comes right before 8....and 8 signals a new beginning.

I'm looking forward to what comes next.

Isaiah 43:16-21

The Message (MSG)
 16-21This is what God says,
   the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
   who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
   they lie down and then can't get up;
   they're snuffed out like so many candles:
"Forget about what's happened;
   don't keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new.
   It's bursting out! Don't you see it?
There it is! I'm making a road through the desert,
   rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say 'Thank you!'
   —the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
   rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
   the people I made especially for myself,
   a people custom-made to praise me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love this!! Love your writing! Love your heart!