Lisa Harper Tells Ministers’ Wives Hardship Can Foster Joy

Even when his life was falling apart, Job clung tenaciously to the truth that God is good, Lisa Harper told a sold-out crowd of 1,200 ministers’ wives at the 2018 Ministers’ Wives Luncheon on June 12.

The theme of joy, in fact, is all through the Old Testament book, but “you have to get to the pit to get there,” said Harper, a popular speaker and author of “Job: An Unlikely Story of Joy” and “The Sacrament of Happy.”

Harper, who spoke at the gathering in Dallas at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, also is mom to Melissa (Missy) Price Harper, whom she adopted from Haiti in 2014.

Missy’s biological mother died from undiagnosed AIDS, leaving Missy orphaned with HIV, tuberculosis and severe malnutrition.

“Other than salvation and the accompanying graces of the Holy Spirit, Missy is my greatest gift” and “my prize at the other side of the river of tears,” Harper said regarding the miracle of being a mother at the age of 55.

But, she acknowledged, it wasn’t an easy journey. Like Job, who lost everything important in his life when tested by God, she said she had seasons when she didn’t know if she would survive.

“The nadir of my life was right before God brought Missy to me,” Harper said, recounting how a woman told her, years earlier as a single woman who had endured sexual abuse in her life, she was not fit to adopt a child.

What Harper heard was “You’re too damaged to be a mom,” a thought that held her back many years from motherhood.

“The enemy usually takes a grain of truth and weaves it into an outlandish lie,” Harper said. “Do not let well-intentioned but crooked Christians speak death into life.”

Eventually, Harper began a precarious journey toward a private adoption of the baby of a prostitute. Days before the adoption was to be finalized, a call from the adoption agency brought everything to a screeching halt.

Stunned at the loss of her new baby, Harper received two more calls, this time from her separated parents, who both learned they had devastating health news. Her mother had Stage 4 bladder cancer. Her father’s cancer had returned, and he had two months to live.

Harper remembered thinking, “Jesus, you’ve got the wrong girl…. This is too hard!”

But then she had an epiphany. The words she would soon speak at a leadership event sunk into her own heart: “God is faithful — even in the hard times.”

“I’ve never seen His back,” she affirmed. “I’ve never felt His absence.”

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Source: Baptist Press