Posted by: thaufler | August 3, 2010

Evan was not mine, he was God’s…

So, how am I to process the recent events? Are these things ordered by a sovereign God whose purposes are not yet fully revealed?

Was the exquisite pain, hopelessness and bewilderment we have experienced these last few weeks ordered by the hand of an infinitely loving and perfect God, or was He trumped by Satan? Does Satan have more power than Him in this case… as a child of God this offers me no comfort.

…or did Satan rule here because God was simply waiting for me to have enough faith to believe for the great miracle of healing for our boy… perhaps I needed to have more faith than the Apostle Paul (2 Cor 12:7-10), …again this too offers me very little comfort.

Is it a Biblical principle that God grants gifts to those who have some special ability; some inherent goodness? If that were true then would His gifts be considered grace, or instead would they be considered our just payment for moral excellence, great faith, or refraining from speaking the wrong things? Are we truly that powerful? Is God a tool in my hand that I can wield as I wish or am I a tool in His hand… which is it? Doesn’t He exercise the right to hurl me into the world like a sickle to make His glory known by whatever means…

Was Job’s calamities due to his speaking the wrong things or not having enough faith, or did his inherent goodness (more than I am ever likely to know) prevent the calamities? Who’s in charge here, me or God???

Almost every New Testament saint endured unrelenting trials and eventually painful deaths, why should I consider myself exempt from these things? I cut my teeth on a King James Bible my mother bought for me over 20 years ago, and now prefer the New King James, if you have one at home you love… pick it up. The man who penned 90% of the text and helped shape the english language lived a life with one goal, that the common man would have the Bible and be able to read it in his own language. How is he repaid for his faithfulness… strangled and then burned at the stake (He was shown the mercy of enstranglement because he was an ordained priest). Does he see his dream realized… no. Am I entitled to some special grace that he was not that ensures a life of ease, or does God reserve the right to squeeze me like a grape if it produces the wine of glory for His name?

I must believe that this was ordered by God and in Him I will trust, I have no alternative. The exquisite pain we’ve endured, that we haven’t shared and will not publicly, has been met by the most exquisite love of God, and is doing a work greater than would’ve ever been possible otherwise… a work who’s fruit we may never see this side of heaven. Romans 8:28 sums up it up beautifully, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” …and I do not reserve the right to define what the “good” is here, that right belongs to God alone, and that is my worldview.

So what do I do… stop praying and say what will be will be! Absolutely Not!!! What is the end saint, what is our glorious end??? It’s the knowledge of God through a suffering Saviour… He is our glorious end! Prayer is a means of achieving this glorious end, it is absolutely essential and this has driven us to our knees in search of Him, I never stopped believing for a miracle in our child’s life, but Evan was not mine… he was and is God’s.

If this troubles you then perhaps your Christianity is not Christian enough and you have fallen prey to a perversion of the truth that could only thrive here in America and is not historical… the high watermarks of our precious faith happened during times of extraordinary persecution, not when the saints lived lives of ease.

1 Corinthians 1:22-25 “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

What did the Apostle Paul give them? Neither a sign nor wisdom… to chase after healing or wealth is a distraction from the purpose of Christ’s coming. Faith is not a force with your words or attitudes it’s carrier, it is an empty cup placed in the soul of man by God himself… a gift, it has one purpose and that’s to point us to Christ. Faith without the promise of God (which is what God fills the cup with) is nothing; you cannot have faith in faith, and what does all of scripture point to… Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. Everything that happens to you this side of heaven is designed to point you or others to Him.

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Posted by: thaufler | July 31, 2010

In Memory…

To answer God’s call to adopt was a decision our family made, but the body of Christ walked us through these past two years.  You have encouraged us, prayed for us, cried with us and kept us going forward.

I believe that we all have a call and we are very discontent until we fulfill it. This was our call and we have no regrets besides the fact that Evan is no longer here with us. We had so much we wanted to give him, but now he has so much more.

We have a measure of peace in  knowing that this must have been God’s plan. We don’t understand and maybe never will this side of heaven. We will miss Evan greatly as he was everything we thought he would be.

Despite the fact that his natural parents were unable to care for him, leaving him to spend the first two years of his life in an orphanage, Evan was such a happy boy. He spent the last 2 and 1/2 years of his life in a foster home with a foster mother who loved him very much despite her situation of living in a small one room apartment taking  care of two children with special needs.

Evan was a beautiful boy, full of joy and promise. He was loving and very smart. I only regret that our family and this church body never had the chance to meet him. I am sure that you would have blessed him and he would have been a blessing to you as well.

I know that most of us have asked ‘why’ and we have asked that too. We can only hope and pray that many children will be helped as a result of Evan’s story. Medical record keeping and the care of orphan children needs to change, may Evan’s story be a catalyst for that change.

So we are not bitter or angry, but we take a lesson from our son Evan and try to be joyful in the midst of an unfortunate situation. If we truly believe in God’s sovereignty there is no need to place blame. Our job is to let God mold us in the midst of our pain and seek to bring him Glory in it.

I  cannot say thank you long enough or loud enough to everyone here today. I especially want to thank those who made this service come together and turn out so special. I am sorry that I can’t name names lest I forget someone.

I also want to thank Robin Sizemore, our adoption agency director and her husband James for traveling from North Carolina to be here today.  This journey has been hard on her as well. Robin was in Georgia with us during our first week there and we forged a great friendship during that time…..

And lastly I wanted to thank my husband……he is a wonderful father and he was so to Evan for those few short days. Evan was enamored by Tim and seemed to love him instantly. I think Tim’s unconditional love as an earthly father made Evan’s transition to his heavenly father a very natural one.

 I wanted to leave you with the words of a song I have been listening to a lot this week by Kathy Troccoli entitled ‘How would I know’…

If it wasn’t for the times that I was down
If it wasn’t for the times that I was bound
For all the times that I wondered
How I would ever make it through
All the times that I couldn’t see my way
And I had to turn to You

How would I know You could deliver
How would I know You could set free
If there had never been a battle

How would I know the victory
How would I know You could be faithful To meet all of my needs
Lord I appreciate the hard times
Otherwise how would I know

I remember all the times I had to cry
And at the time all I could do was wonder why
Why would a God so kind and loving
Allow me to go through all this pain
If I could see into the future
Then I would know the joy I’d gain.

Alicia Haufler

Indescribable highs coupled with unspeakable lows all within multiple 12 hour periods for days on end; days that felt like weeks but passed by in minutes. And come Monday a new normal begins for us…

Every moment spent with Evan was unforgettable, his joy was infectious and his expressions priceless. I’m quite sure both Alicia and I would trade a lifetime to hold him one more time and see his sweet demure smile, and marvel at his bright mind as he discovered his new world. A boy labeled “Severely mentally retarded” who could sing the Georgian National Anthem, and pick out a car he rode in once from hundreds on the street, and who’s fascination with anything that had buttons only ceased once he conquered every one effectively.

I’ll never forget his joy while riding in the car sitting in our lap; that’s right… in our lap; there are no car seats in Georgia. He would smile so big his eyes would begin to close and raise his little arms as if he were going to take off in flight and just about shoulder level he would stop and excitedly flap them while opening and closing his fists as if he were clutching the air. Then he would look around to see if we were having as much fun as he was… we were but not because of the movement of the car, he was the source of our joy.

A sweetness combined with fierce determination, and if genes could be transmitted by osmosis I would confidently avow in any court he was Alicia’s offspring. It’s impossible to tell just how many crossroads we came to in our journey to bring Evan home. Almost everyday was an uphill battle of will with swords drawn and shields firmly in place. Only occasional glances back to draw courage from the milestones we’d conquered (please understand when I say “we” I mean Alicia). Only I have the satisfaction of really knowing St Alicia, who first captured my affections when caring for a room full of children 21 years ago, and my affection for her has never ceased. Caring for and loving children is her calling and I know God will supply the next mission field.

I remember a letter I read penned by John Newton the writer of “Amazing Grace” a few years ago sent to a young man desiring to be in the ministry. He made this statement, “God purposely withholds His sovereign plans from us when necessary, knowing that if we knew the dark paths He designed that we travel for His glory, we would never begin the journey (paraphrased).”

How true this is for us… I wouldn’t trade anything for the few days we had with Evan, for the “metabolic” changes in our family, for the depth of joy we have in Christ today who never let go our hands as we walked the path he designed for us and carried us when we couldn’t walk. But if we knew the end we would’ve never started…

We do not know why these things happened this way, we have never endured such pain and loss, but we know… we know that God is good and this vividly painted portrait is not complete. The colors have only begun to meet the eyes of those who’ve been given the privilege to peer into the canvas, and we will patiently wait for the next stroke of His brush knowing whether its touch brings pain or joy it is for our good, a good we do not get to define, and His glory.

Tim Haufler

Posted by: thaufler | July 30, 2010

In gratitude…

The encouragement we have received from those we love and those we’ve never met here has been a sustaining force for our faith and our deepest gratitude is extended to you who have followed our journey.

This weekend marks the celebration of Evan’s short life and Monday a new normal begins for the Haufler family. We all will need the support of our friends and family but most of all Alicia, who will see each morning a closet full of clothes, a room full of toys carefully picked out for our son, a little empty chair in the corner, and drive a van bought to accommodate our growing crew. Please be there for her when the cards and meals stop coming, and pray that I have the wisdom and presence of mind to discern her needs.

Our final post on this blog will be Saturday or Sunday and will be a memorial to Evan’s life…

http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/timesdispatch/guestbook.aspx?n=evan-haufler&pid=144346943&cid=full

Posted by: thaufler | July 26, 2010

Long shadows…

Evan was a gift to all who met him… a bright light shining out into the world… a candle whose earthly flame, though extinguished, still casts a long shadow.

Some would say he was less than perfect in his natural form, but I would disagree. Who’s to say he wasn’t exactly as our heavenly Father intended him to be? I must agree with the Psalmist who says, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16) 

Was Evan exempt from this great promise?

His life has disrupted the core of many; like planets carelessly orbiting the sun, his life and story was a masterfully designed meteor that blasted their course forever. We can be crushed by these events and question God’s wisdom and spin out of control, or hold on trusting His goodness while waiting for this new future He has planned… a future that exist for His glory, not our comfort.

The hole left by his absence and the dreams we planned for him remain, and these scars will someday heal, but the evidence of his short visit with us will never vanish. Someday, some careful anthropologist may look back and see the rim of the crater left by the impact of his little life and say, “Here is where it began to change; where ancient prejudices were forever altered, where value was determined not by a person’s stature, abilities or health.” Perhaps… we’ll wait and see, but for now my hand is firmly planted in the palm of my creator knowing this exquisite pain and confusion has a purpose, a purpose I do not have to understand…

Posted by: thaufler | July 26, 2010

Memorial Service (Time & Location)

A memorial service will be held to celebrate the life of Evan Moses Haufler next Saturday July 31st at 1:00pm at the following location;

Christian Life Center

4451 Longhill Road

Williamsburg, VA 23188

(757) 220-2100

www.williamsburgclc.com

In lieu of flowers please consider a charitable donation to the “Evan Moses Memorial Fund” through Hopscotch Adoptions @ www.hopscotchadoptions.org which will be used to support the adoption of special needs children.  

Posted by: thaufler | July 24, 2010

Memorial Service…

We would like to thank everyone for their expressions of condolence, prayers, cards and meals…

We are making final preparations for a memorial service next Saturday and will keep you informed about the location and time.

This is a very difficult time and we are doing the best we can… coming home was bitter-sweet, and we could not have endured this tragedy without the body of Christ and our family. If we haven’t returned your call we will in time.

You are loved dearly and we hope to see you this upcoming Saturday.

Posted by: thaufler | July 21, 2010

A comment from Pastor Van…

We delight that he is experiencing joys forevermore in the presence of the Lord, yet we mourn with you because he is loved and missed.

When her second child died, Ann Judson, the wife of Adoniram Judson, wrote,

“Our hearts were bound up with this child; we felt he was our earthly all, our only source of innocent recreation in this heathen land (India). But God saw it was necessary to remind us of our error, and to strip us of our only little all. O, may it not be vain that He has done it. May we so improve it that He will stay his hand and say, ‘It is enough.’”

What sustained this man and his wife was a rock-solid confidence that God is sovereign and God is good. And all things come from His hand for the good – the incredibly painful good – of His children.

Pastor Van Loomis

No man who has lived has been more of an inspiration to me than Adoniram Judson and somehow in this tragedy I forgot these words spoken by his first wife… thank you Pastor Van, you have lifted this weary soul closer to God with your timely encouragement.

Posted by: thaufler | July 21, 2010

Goodbye Israel…

We’ve been kicked out of our hotel room (not really, they just don’t have any room for us outside of the third floor which is for women only who have been released from the hospital with their newly born child and they appropriately thought this would be painful for us… good call.) and we are now sitting in the business lounge for the next seven hours. I cannot express just how understanding and compassionate these people have been… everywhere we go we end up with new family members, but these folks I am ready to leave… no offense please, we just want to be home.

This morning we had to get the cash to cover Evan’s transport home… no easy task. We had the approval from our bank for the transfer yesterday but apparently someone in America forgot to hit the right key and the approval never went across the network. So we show up at one bank and they refuse the amount needed, so we went to another and our guide pleaded our case and just when the clerk went to the manager’s office to hopefully fix the problem the power went out… so… we went to another bank and they could not help. Called the bank and our cellphone ran out of minutes, so our guide loaned us her phone and after twenty minutes they said everything was approved and they didn’t know what the problem was.

We go back to the first bank and our guide told the clerk our unusual situation and this must have warmed his heart to us because we now had an advocate who eventually had us in the bank manager’s office on his phone with our bank until the problem was solved and 2.5 hours later we had the cash for the Israeli Funeral Director. St. Alicia has missed her calling, her patience and resolve in situations like this is supernatural. We thanked this kind man and as I was leaving the bank I glanced back to see his smiling face following us out with a little dance in his step and I was renewed… one, because the people here don’t smile… and two, I understood the satisfaction he was feeling and I am glad to have had him as a friend even if it was for only a moment.

Yesterday as I was showing our guide the pictures in my camera she said, “You know the interesting thing about Americans? They are always smiling… (paraphrased).” She said this after looking at a picture of my father who wears his big grin from ear to ear most of the time.

We gave away a stroller we bought for our little guy, and all his diapers to a very grateful hotel housekeeper, and it hit Alicia again… it’s hitting me right now, gonna stop writing…

We will be back soon, and we can’t wait to see our children, our dogs, our house, our friends, our home…

Posted by: thaufler | July 21, 2010

You never let go…

Thanks Lorraine…

Posted by: thaufler | July 20, 2010

Going home sometime tomorrow…

Spent a little time in Joffa today as a distraction… Evan is gone now and our time in the hospital, which has been perpetual since 7/9/10 has come to an end. Our sweet guide from Moldova took us to St. Peter’s Church by the seaside and learned it was closed (she convinced the porter to let us into the chapel). At the foot of this Catholic Monastery prayers of a Muslim temple rang out while we walked across a wishing bridge filled with Zodiac symbols where we were instructed to make a wish by our sign (our refusal puzzled our guide so we had the opportunity to share our faith a little); then down to an open market where jewish merchants were selling good luck charms. One of the merchants realizing we were Americans tried to sell us one that would give us wealth and health… how about that, Kenneth Copeland must have preceeded our visit to this ancient land. According to our guide there are very few Christians here and the only other church, St. Georges Cathedral, is a strange mixture of Muslim and Christian practiced by mostly Arabians.

Our guide was insistent she wanted to get us something to take home when all I want to do is forget I was ever here. So while she led Alicia and I through the various shops I wandered away until something caught my ear, …the “Hallelujah Song” from Shrek by Rufus Wainwright. I found the one speaker quietly playing this tune and positioned myself in front of it between two empty cafe tables so I could hear the chorus, only the chorus… as I stood there the emotions came back and I wanted to hide but I couldn’t pull myself away… I couldn’t… I just stood there and my heart sang with him… “Hallelujah, hallelujah, Hallelujah, halleluuujaaahh…” 

How in the midst of this most exquisite pain and loss can my heart sing? The heavens opened for a moment and it was as if all the angels were singing with me, rejoicing in the goodness of God… yes His goodness. Here in this almost Godless society close to where Jesus once walked God broke through my fog while listening to a pagan tune sung by mythical creatures (the characters of Shrek) from one lonely speaker in a crowd of shoppers in a strange foreign land.  

I told Alicia today that we will never be the same, our spiritual metabolism has been forever changed, and God intends to use it for His glory… we just need to hang on long enough to understand.

For all you folks waiting for us at home, we don’t have an itinerary yet… look for it tomorrow morning. We can’t wait to see you and tell you personally what you have meant to us during this difficult time.

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