Life is really hard. I tell my children all the time that life is God’s teachable moment with us. I am soon to be a 67-year old man, and you would think that by now I would have things sorted out. Perhaps I am a very slow learner, but when I look around…I am surrounded by other slow learners.
Each day presents each of us with thousands upon thousands of choices to make. What to do? What to say? How to say it? When to speak up? When to shut up? When to make a big deal of something, and when to let something go. The list goes on and on.
All these little decisions each of us make may seem small and insignificant…and yet when you stand back, from a distance…and if you are so inclined, from God’s perspective, all those little decisions are like mosaic tiles in a masterpiece. Everything thing we do, both big and small, leads each of us down a path to the end of our journey here on Earth where we were either a blessing, or a curse to those around us.
I think the hardest decisions we make are those where it is possible to overreach. We humans, without that drive to expand what we know, would have never been able to put a man on the moon. So, many times that drive within us can serve a very noble purpose. Yet, that natural curiosity can also cause us a great deal of pain when we start thinking we know what’s best for someone else. Sometimes it is difficult to see when we have stepped out of our human shoes and tried on God’s shoes to see if they fit.
I remember as a boy reading in the Bible that to do good for the wrong reason is as bad as doing something bad. I remember scratching my head thing, how is that possible? Isn’t doing good always a good thing? It wasn’t until I acquired a bit more knowledge that I came to understand that our motivations behind our actions is a critical element in determining between right and wrong.
You see in our political discourse on a daily basis where both sides operate under the old adage that the end justifies the means. Yet, deep in our souls…in that place where our conscience resides…we know that the end never justifies the means. The history of the world is littered with millions of corpses put in an early grave because someone in power decided to try on God’s shoes.
I am sensitive to the things I see and hear because my wife and I were victims of governmental over-reach. Thirty years ago, my wife and I decided to enlarge our family through adoption. Since we had two biological children already, we were told by various adoption agencies here in this country that our chances were slim-to- none to being able to adopt. So, we began to look to a foreign adoption as an answer to our prayers.
We settled in on El Salvador, since the country was embroiled in a bitter civil war at the time with over 50,000 causalities…thus producing a great many orphans. Working with the El Salvadorian courts and legal system, we were soon matched up with a little 6-year old “orphan” girl. Our daughter over the years, as her communication skills and her English improved, began to talk of her family in El Salvador. Having been told her family had been killed; we soon had our daughter sitting on various psychologists and psychiatrists couches to determine what was going on. As time passed, our daughter’s resentment of us increased as she felt we had stolen her from her family. This resentment became so bad that one evening in the bitter cold of an Ohio winter, Gina ran away from home with no coat and no shoes. She ended up in foster care; both her life and the remaining four lives of what was once our family in complete shambles.
Close to two years went by with Gina living in a foster home some 50 miles away. Emotionally, our distance was even far greater. Out of the blue one day, my wife received a phone call from a doctor in Chicago who asked if we had adopted a little girl from El Salvador. That phone call was the first step by God to start to repair the damage of humans playing God.
The good doctor from Chicago came for a visit and with much prodding and pulling; we were able to get Gina to come for an afternoon to what was once her home. The doctor took a blood sample and with the DNA collected was able to match it to Gina’s biological parents…who were very much alive.
Over the course of the next few months, it was uncovered that Gina had been kidnapped by the El Salvadorian government as a form of intimidation by the government to control the peasant population. She was one of about 2,000 children who were placed with parents throughout the world. When government officials involved were confronted about their actions; they offered up the following explanation, “We were trying to give these children a better life than what they had.” Officials within the US Embassy, although suspicious; turned a blind eye…thinking their inaction served a greater purpose.
In summary, we wanted to adopt a child who needed our help. Well-meaning officials in El Salvador found a child, and the officials at the American Embassy stamped our paperwork with their blessing. What could possibly be wrong with that? The end justified the means. These people justified their behavior by saying our home was better than the home she had. Only one thing was wrong with that picture, they forgot to tell Gina.
Everything is fine now. Gina has two families who love her. She has her family here in Ohio and she has a family she visits and stays in touch with in El Salvador. When I tell you that it took a miracle from God to fix this mess…trust me on that…we humans need to let God be God.
I tell you this cautionary tale because I don't think I am alone in being a victim of governmental overreach. I think there are plenty of people caught in the web of "well-meaning" bureaucrats who think they "know" what is best for someone. Anytime we allow someone to force an outcome of their choosing, we are at risk...no matter how lofty they think their motives are. It's ironic that those who like to play God, seldom believe in God.