Two years ago I was speaking in Glendale, Arizona. For Pastor Steve Hubler, one of the guests, that night would forever change his life . . . and the life of his church.
You see, Steve carried with him a burden that taxed his spirit for ten years. Steve has graciously agreed for me to share portions of this letter I just received with you:
I’m one of them, one of the thousands who cannot participate in one of life’s most basic endeavors, the conception of another life. The discovery of my infertility was traumatic. When God didn’t take away my infertility and heal me, my wife and I believed that He would show us when we should enter the adoption process.
God broke His silence late in 2005. My wife and I joined her parents at a special event sponsored by Focus on the Family. The purpose of the gathering was to introduce the new president, Jim Daly. I accepted my in-laws’ invitation because I like Focus . . . and because there would be free food.
I arrived tired. Since it wasn’t time to eat I began looking for the coffee. As I entered the room, a nice man wearing a Focus name tag greeted me and thanked me for coming. I replied accordingly, but paid little attention to him. Instead, I filled my cup.
The nice man persisted in his effort to make conversation, a favor I felt little capacity to return. I took him for the door man, a greeter of some sort. We made small talk about hotels, coffee and other such things that don’t really matter.
Not long after this the program was underway. The first speaker began recounting the process of finding a man to fill the shoes of Dr. James Dobson. He then introduced Jim Daly. Much to my dismay, the person who took the podium was the door man!
Little did I know I was on the verge of discovering that God had a message for me.
I listened intently as Jim Daly told us about his life, a tale of trials and blessings; a tale of abandonment, adoption, and God’s preparation for his new role at Focus on the Family. All the while I tried to recall if I’d said anything embarrassing during our earlier conversation. At the break, it was I who persisted in making conversation with him. Jim answered all of my questions, but then asked me a number of his own.
Among the first was if I had any children. I said, “No.” Jim wanted to know why. I decided to tell him that we couldn’t have children due to infertility. I told him that my wife and I were waiting for God to show us when to take the next step. Jim, not to be dissuaded, persisted to encourage me that perhaps that time might be now.
I didn’t hear anything else that was said that evening. My mind had been set ablaze with thoughts of the awesome possibilities awaiting us should my church decide to start a foster/adoption ministry.
In short, back home I preached a sermon on James 1:27 and challenged our church to join me in practicing the true religion James mentioned, namely, to care for the widow and the orphan. As a church, we hosted a training class which would result in licensing its participants for foster care and adoption. My wife and I attended and became licensed for open adoption through Christian Family Care Agency. Less than a year later, we received a beautiful newborn boy.
I gave God my infertility and He gave me back a son.
If given the chance, I would not even trade him for a biological son, because he has captured me. The love I have for him feels so powerful. Isn’t that just like God, to bring such overwhelming fulfillment out of such overwhelming loss? One conversation. One sermon. Dozens of lives changed for the better, and all for God’s glory.
It humbles me to think that God chose to use the story of my broken childhood as an orphan to be a catalyst of hope and new beginnings for Steve and his church family. If you’d like to explore whether adoption or foster care is right for you, we’d love to help. Contact us at Family.org.