This post was originally written on March 11th, 2015
We went to war today.
By every single visible sign, it was subtle, except the tears streaming down my face. I have a feeling tears will be the war-paint of choice in this battle. Right now, I have saline smeared on my face like William Wallace, but maybe with a little less courage than him (maybe). This will forever be remembered as the day we printed out (and filled in) the adoption application and contract from our desired agency. My bride was walking out of my study as I pulled it off the printer, and snapped a photo of the header where it said, “adoption application”. “Are you smiling?” she asked before she exited the room. I shook my head back-and-forth to signal an answer of “no” but the smile on my face could have been seen from space. She added, “does this feel like a battle-cry to you?” Again I shook my head “no”, but she could read the “yes” on my face because it was as clear as day. I held it together as she walked down the stairs. When I heard the baby gate latch at the foot of the stairs, I quickly pulled up the phone numbers of two dear friends and texted them the adoption application photo I had just snapped (both of them know what it’s like to adopt and both of them know what it’s like to be adopted). As I typed the words “make war” to my brothers-in-arms, I lost it. Painting my face with the war-paint of salty tasting moisture. When I weep, it’s with every part of my body.
It’s a war within, if nothing else. I know this adoption journey will be no different. It will be a long line of battles until this life is done. After all, adoption doesn’t end with a plane ride home.
I’m a firm believer that if you’re doing it right, life is war. At least for me it is. I am constantly battling selfishness and killing sin and honing the disciplines of righteousness. When my son interrupts me in the midst of a busy work day to show me his newest Lego creation, I’m thrust into a battle against my flesh and my desire for control and need for “to-do-list-accomplishment”. It’s a battle for gentleness and control. A battle for his joy. For my joy. When I’m called to place my bride’s interest above my own, I am thrust into a battle against selfishness and laziness and apathy. Speaking of my bride, she goes to battle almost every night as our youngest screams from his nursery. He is hungry and needy and she fights for his life. She is a warrior. I have a friend who goes to war every weekday earning his teaching degree so he can follow a calling to teach in the inner city and play some role in turning lives around. Another who works more doubles than I can count so his wife can follow her heart and be home with the kids. I know a woman who’s husband betrayed her, leaving her alone. Some days she finds herself in an all out battle for joy. I have hundreds of examples of people entering the trenches day after day after bloody day. Life is war.
For me, life is battle after battle of my flesh making war against the Spirit. The old man squaring off against the new man. It’s a war within, if nothing else. I know this adoption journey will be no different. It will be a long line of battles until this life is done. After all, adoption doesn’t end with a plane ride home. And as I ponder this, I am reminded of the words of Russell Moore:
“But adoption is contested, both in its cosmic and missional aspects. The Scriptures tell us there are unseen beings in the air around us who would rather we not think about what it means to be who we are in Christ. These rulers of the age would rather we ignore both the eternal reality and the earthly icon of it. They would rather we find our identity, our inheritance, and our mission according to what we can see and verify as ours – according to what the Bible calls “the flesh” – rather than according to the veiled rhythms of the Spirit of life. That’s why adoption isn’t charity – it’s war.”
( Russell D. Moore, Adopted for Life, 18)
And so as we strap our boots on for this war called adoption. My heart is racing. My eyes are hot with tears water. My breath is caught in my lungs and fear threatens to undo me in a million ways. But I am reminded of God’s word to King Jehoshaphat in the face of insurmountable odds on the battle field:
And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”
(2 Chronicles 20:15-17)
The hard truth is we’re not battle ready. We never have been. But in Christ we are ready for battle. God has a long history of winning battles. Winning the war on behalf of His children. So here we go. We’re strapping our boots on, gripping our weapons, and marching right into the battle! We’ve got our war-paint on. We’re scared to death. We’re confident. We feel vulnerable. We are invincible. And we have ourselves a front row seat to watch God’s victorious power on display time and time and time again. Won’t you pull up a chair and sit a spell. It’s going to be bloody and it going to be beautiful.
It’s time for battle. Make war.