Some families have amazing adoption stories filled with sweet memories of children running into their arms at the first meeting and photos filled with smiles. Others could fill pages with words of struggle, fear, and lots of tears.
I would say our story has been a whole lot of the latter, with some of the first thrown in.
I’ll confess that I’ve had my share of crying out to God asking him why. Why us? We heard his voice, we obeyed, and then our world exploded.
I know lots of families with much easier stories.
Did we only imagine hearing God’s voice? Maybe he wasn’t pleased with us. Or maybe he just didn’t love us as much as he loved my friends.
The book of Hebrews teaches me three key things about Adoption.
We may suffer, we may not – and God is pleased with us for simply being faithful
When the author writes about the great heroes of faith, he (or quite possibly she) says that some of them were rewarded for their faith. They “shut the mouth of lions,” and ” escaped the edge of the sword.” Without a pause, the author goes on to describe others who were stoned, sawn in two, and “killed by the sword.”
Some of them escaped the sword and others were killed by the sword. Then the author goes on to tell us that “all were commended for their faith.”
When we do suffer, Jesus is with us and we need not be ashamed.
I love Hebrews 12:2, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame….” Jesus died a shameful, criminal’s death, but he refused to take on the shame – he scorned it. Some translations say he “despised” or “disregarded” it.
I have struggled with shame over our struggles – if I were a better mother, if I had made different decisions, chosen this treatment instead of that, on and on. But when we look closely at the book of Hebrews, we see that we are in good company with those who suffered for the sake of Christ.
We must run our race to win.
In the first century, festivals and games were held as religious events and the race was part of those games. The way you ran your race told the world about the god you served.
The arena was filled with people cheering for the runners as they strained forward. Likewise, the author of Hebrews reminds us that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, those who have gone before us in the faith – the great heroes whose names we know, and those only known by our families.
They are cheering us on as we run our race – as we show the world who our God is. We must run to win, knowing we’ll have nothing left when we cross the finish line.
I can see Kalkidan, on her feet cheering, urging us on. I see Russ’ father running coming down out of the stands to run alongside Russ, like a friend encouraging an athlete along the course of a marathon.
As my pastor said last Sunday:
Run, don’t walk.
You may be bent over grabbing your side and gasping for breath, don’t despair – endure.
We must keep our eyes on the finish line. This is not heaven, friends, we’re not there yet. This world is hard and broken, but it’s okay because we’re still in the race.
When we cross the finish line, we will experience joy that is beyond what we can even imagine. Keep running, friends.
In hope and gratitude,