Yesterday we spent the day with the boys of a good friend recovering from leukemia. Whenever our kids get together, the subject of their older brother always comes up. The violent fifteen-year-old has been holding the entire family hostage, with the assistance of DFS, which is refusing to place the boy in a therapeutic group home because of the expense.
Both social workers and lawyers have advised my friends to arrange a “planned abandonment” at the agency, to disrupt the adoption. Unfortunately, the state is playing dirty pool, threatening to take all four boys and put them back in the system if the parents do this. The parents’ names would also be placed on a registry, so that they would never again be able to work in a school or church.
Given the current dire straights of the state budget, it is understandable that the government would be unwilling to take on extraordinary expenses. However, to withhold mental help from teenagers is to create the next generation of criminals. When a family adopts a child from foster care, the state of Michigan promises to provide necessary mental health services. If they reneg on this promise, how can they expect other families to step forward and take foster children into their homes?
Every option has been exhausted. Financially and emotionally, the parents are completely spent. The veteran social workers handling the case have come up empty handed. “I just don’t understand it,” one of them says to me. “I’ve tried and tried to think of what God is trying to do here. I keep waiting for deliverance. But it isn’t coming. And I don’t know what to do.”
It was the proverbial horns of a dilemma: Whether to alleviate the pain of the present moment by putting the future in jeopardy. And yet, it has come to exactly this. Sometimes the only way to secure the future . . . is to offer it back to God. To release the dread and fear on one hand . . . and the hopes and dreams on the other. “Whatever you will, my God, the future is in your hands.”
How often do we find ourselves at this crossroads? Caught in the web of the present, spun by yesterday’s planning and conniving and dreaming. “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “Plans for prosperity and not for adversity, to give you a future and a hope.”
Sometimes when we offer our dreams back to God, he gives them back to us in unexpected ways. But other times, he exchanges them for something better than anything we could have dreamed for ourselves.
Is God asking you to offer your dream back to him?