I read the coolest blog post the other day by UPB’s Nathan Fray. The post resonated deep, as it reminded me of a constant theme that has been taking place in the church body.
So much hurt and feelings of abondanmonet, both spiritually and physically, have been a constant spirit that has plagued many people, especially in the past year.
Fray proceeded to blog about a personal experience he had through witnessing the love of a father with his newly adopted child. It was a heartfelt, simple, and honest look into the heart of our Heavenly Father and how He can (and does) operate through the love of people like you and I to convey the strongest message to each and everyone one of us — love.
Enjoy. I love you, guys!
“What does the Kingdom look like?”
This has been that type of nagging thought that you can’t seem to shake, and lately has turned into a simple prayer of mine. “God, show me what your Kingdom looks like in my daily life.” I almost said “normal life”, but everything I read in the gospels is anything but normal. In my daily life, I want to see how the Spirit is moving, how the Kingdom is expanding. I say “see”, because its easy to be blind to how the Kingdom grows, especially when it is “as small as a mustard seed.”
Anyways, last Tuesday night during our weekly worship gathering, something profound happened. Another expression of what this Kingdom looks like exploded in front of my eyes.
It was as simple as a father holding his son asleep in his arms. But not just any son: a newly adopted son. A son recently abandoned by his parents, left to fend for himself at age 4. A son who never before experienced unconditional love, never known a house a peace, never before eaten a home-cooked meal. This father was holding his new son with every once of love in him. It was there I could see Romans 8:15 come alive: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out ABBA FATHER.”
The Spirit of adoption saturated our living room that night. It permeated everything. The word became flesh that night to me, exploding in front me in the simplicity of a hug that didn’t let go. During worship, I heard the son ask his dad, “Who is Jesus?”
This question wrecked me, because I knew he would soon find out. Jesus is in the great rescuer. And He wants to use us. He is using my friend to be the Father this son never had. I watched the son fall asleep on his father’s chest. I watched the father silently weep over his new son. Tears of hope. Tears of joy. God’s glory filled the house. I cried. We all cried. We all felt our Father’s embrace that night, the peace and safety of being sons and daughters, heirs to the King and Kingdom.
This father and mother didn’t just adopt one child, but three. And these children aren’t even totally adoptable yet, because there is still one parent somewhere in the distance, strung out on drugs. This is foster care for a season, with adoption the goal. But that’s not stopping my friends. They are giving everything to these children. The love of God in that house is breathtaking.
They are sowing into the Spirit in a beautiful way. The flesh would say, “I’ll take my comfortable life with our one daughter thank you.” The Spirit says, “Let me love the broken. Let me love who the world says is unlovable. “
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
I saw the Kingdom clearly in a father’s safe embrace that night. It’s still with me. I want to sow into the spirit, not the flesh. I want to see all things made new, to be “a touchable answer to peoples pain and brokenness.” The Kingdom is seeing the Spirit of Adoption literally save lives. This Spirit fights for the lost and broken. This Spirit doesn’t let go. This is the Kingdom I know is crashing into this world.
Let’s be people that tell testimonies of God’s goodness and love. It’s because in these stories, we see and hear what God’s Kingdom is all about. This changes us. This changes others. Stories tell us what’s possible, and that it can happen again.