Preface: I spent almost 2 weeks in Uganda, Africa on a mission trip. While it has nothing to do with our family’s adoption journey, it hit close to home with me. This is a true story.
It was a cloudy afternoon and the breeze was cool. I was thankful for that breeze as we were standing aimlessly, kicking the dirt beneath our feet waiting for him to show. Standing there in “The Garage” gave us an unique look inside a different part of life. Broken cars, motorbikes, a hearse, even an ambulance just waiting to be repaired. Miscellaneous car parts were scattered on the ground unseemingly meant for future use. Men and boys of different ages meandered through the spaces tinkering here and there and then attempting to crank the vehicle their hands were diligently trying to reassemble.
It was lunchtime and we were told Hakkim had left to “take lunch” but no one seemed to know when or if he would be back. We waited. While we waited we watched and observed. An hour passed and there was no sign of Hakkim. No one could make contact with him. That is when his friend turned to us with a defeated expression and said, “I do not think Hakkim will be back today.”
You see, Hakkim had been given the opportunity to attend a trade school and learn the skills required to be a mechanic. He was supposed to be working that day as part of his program. However, it would seem Hakkim had chosen to take his own path.
Growing up in Kampala, Uganda, his parents could barely afford to care for him. He found himself in trouble more often than not. One day, he was given a chance at a new life. He was taken in, given a safe haven in which he could thrive. He was provided for physically and spiritually. A second chance was his for the taking. Like many of us, Hakkim convinced himself that he could survive without that intervention.
How many times has God picked you up, put you directly in the center of His will, and at the first sign of a greener pasture you take a detour one step at a time until you find yourself standing in a pile of fertilizer? For me, it has become almost like a routine. About the time I think I am cleaned off and ready to grow where God plants me, I get a hint of something shiny and bright across the way. I debate long and hard about taking that first step toward the distraction. I tell myself that it isn’t what I think it is. But, curiosity takes hold and even though I don’t want to veer from my path, I need to know if I could possibly find something to make it more appealing or more entertaining. The next thing I know, I am knee deep in muck so foul and the only thing shiny nearby is a shovel that I have to use to dig out.
Like Hakkim, we all find ourselves in need of second and third chances. That day was not his first act of disappearance though it may have been his last chance for redemption in the eyes of his instructors and employer. I wish I could say he appeared as we were driving off into the grey horizon and he was restored to his position. I cannot.
I can say with great certainty that even though we are a lot like Hakkim at times, we are always given the opportunity for restoration. We have a Savior who died for us to restore us every time we find ourselves wandering away from His safe haven. We just have to be willing to come back.