Adoptive mom Karly Leib remembers feeling ill equipped and overwhelmed at the prospect of adopting a child, even though she and her husband knew God was calling them to do so. To Karly, the obstacles seemed insurmountable – their house was too small, their car was too small, and their paycheck was definitely too small (her husband had left a lucrative position with a major corporation to work for a church). Even physical energy was lacking because they were already parenting three young children.
Why is God choosing us? she wondered.
She would have a hard day with her three children and think, I can barely take care of these three. How will I take care of one more?
She felt too inadequate, too small for the job, but God made it clear to Karly that He loves small.
“God reminded me of story after story in the Bible where He called ill-equipped people to do His work,” she says. “He did this so it would be apparent to all that it was God who was at work in and through His servants. People saw His work and were drawn to God again and again and put their faith in Him.
“He called Moses, who was afraid of public speaking, to confront Pharaoh and lead His people out of slavery. He called Gideon to rescue Israel from its wicked and powerful enemies, even though Gideon’s clan was the weakest and he was the least in his family; later, God had Gideon shrink his army of 32,000 men to 300 before the army went out to fight, to make it clear that it was God who won the battle. And Jesus called Peter to be one of His disciples, even though Peter was just a regular fisherman.
“Through these stories, God helped me realize that He doesn’t always choose the most qualified, likely-to-succeed people to do His work,” Karly points out. “On the contrary, He is likely to do the opposite of that. He works like this, I realized, because He has different goals than we would if we were God. He is far more interested in people having an experience with Him than He is in getting a job done. God can get a job done anytime He wants. What He is really interested in is people knowing Him.”
The Leibs came to know that God is faithful because He provided for them at each step of their adoption journey.
“If we had a big house and all the money we needed to adopt a child – and all the strength, energy, and patience required based on my own human effort – I would wind up patting myself on the back and feeling pretty proud of myself,” Karly admits. “I wouldn’t have needed anything from God on the journey, and so I probably wouldn’t have turned to Him in faith.
“My weaknesses and hardships give God the opportunity to make His strength and His provision known. If God has called you to do something, then you don’t need to worry about being qualified.”
Julie Holmquist is a book editor at Focus on the Family. She and her husband, Jeff, have raised four children, two of whom were adopted.