Monday, August 27, 2012

A Stark Contrast

Last week I was in a courtroom accompanying someone who'd asked me to be there with them, and what transpired in the two issues before theirs came up was truly both an amazing contrast and a picture of the two "realities" we are offered in this life, and eternity. I think you'll be blessed by the story . . . 

In the first case a man and woman came up with a boy and the issue before the judge was an adoption. I had heard about the amazing picture in adoptions of God's adoption of us when we are born again, but I had never seen one in person. It was incredible.

I gather that the man had married the woman and wanted to adopt her son. After the judge asking the boy some questions like, "Do you like this man?" and "Do you want him to be your father?" the judge asked the man something to the effect of, "Do you understand that by adopting Michael he receives all rights as a child, including inheritance?" After the man said he did the judge asked something like, "Do you understand that by adopting Michael you assume all responsibilities of a parent, as if he was your own child?" After the man said he did the judge verified with the mom that she wanted this as well and then asked what the boy's last name would be. They told the judge (I believe it was the new father's last name) who then asked if Michael had a middle name. They said he didn't and asked if they could give him one then. The judge smiled and said, "Now would be the time," after which they chose a middle name for Michael which the judge recorded. The judge then signed the papers and declared, "And now I've signed that and Michael is the child and Jorge is the father." And it was done, sealed, official. The line of natural, worldly descendance from a father to a son was broken and a son received a new father, and a father received a new son, all in a transaction that transcended and overrode the earthly blood line. The judge then gave the boy a teddy bear to remember the day by and the courtroom—filled with people focused on things ahead not nearly so pleasant—exploded in applause at this display of love and goodness and joy before them. It was as breath of fresh air in a thick cloud tension. It was a ray of sun streaming through a wall of dark clouds.

The case the followed was so starkly different it stunned me with the deceit and manipulation and lost desolation of two parties going at one another for over an hour over a landlord/tenant dispute. I found myself totally unclear over which party was more lost and wicked and deceitful and self focused, and just watching you started to feel slimy and dirty and enshrouded in darkness. It was a sea of pride driven by self with no interest in truth and right but simply in revenge and wounding and self profiting at any cost. The concept of doing what was right or noble or virtuous was completely absent (unless, of course, you believe we evolved and there is not God, which means there is not absolute right or wrong, which means focusing on self above all is, in fact, "right").

As I absorbed what transpired before me, and as I have reflected on it in the days since, I am still stunned by the contrast I saw between the two consecutive events, and the stark picture they offer of our two options or "realities" we have before us in this life and for eternity. On the one hand (in the landlord/tenant dispute) you have a world of which both parties were completely a part of and completely caught in. They were totally scratching and clawing through it for their own advance and motives and means. They were fully immersed in the world they were born into and it was their entire reality. In that reality they fought and schemed and maneuvered for themselves with no regard to anything higher or outside of themselves that they were accountable to. Born into this world they were subject to this world and fought within this world for all they could get out of this world. Only having themselves to depend on, they stooped to anything they could do in their own strength and resources to get for themselves what they could from this world, their reality.

In the adoption, on the other hand, you had a boy, born into this world and a certain reality, who was "born again" with a new name and a new father as a new man's son. He had a new reality and a complete new, fresh shift of who was his father and who took responsibility for him. As a result of this shift he had a completely new set of rights, including a new inheritance, not to mention an entirely new framework and lens through which to view his life and the world around him. On his own, without a father, Michael could only depend on what limited assets he had in his life. But now he had a father and a whole new place of protection and provision and security to depend on and rely on, and a whole new person to stand up for him and give his strength to him. What a picture of our adoption by God as His children when we are born again, with a Father from above, as His sons and daughters, in an official transaction that no earthly power can break, no longer of this world (though still in it), born from above, awaiting a new name the Father will give us.

I have long been aware of these two opposing options and realities every man and woman faces, but this was such a stark picture of them that it deeply affected me and I wanted to share it with you. May God bless you this week with a deep sense of His love for you and His presence with you.   —Erick

6 comments:

  1. Erick, what a great post and such godly insight. I'd like to share with you a personal footnote. In 2007, my husband and I adopted a 5 year old boy from China. We travelled there with our then 7 year old bio daughter, Andie. Xi Jian did not speak English and we did not speak Chinese. It was only a matter of a few hours before he could communicate to us that whatever jie-jie (older sister in Chinese) got, or got to do, he wanted equal. I immediately sensed that my Heavenly Father was showing me how to behave as an adopted child of God. Too often we don't experience all that God has for us because we don't feel fully vested from day one. One more thing, as soon as he passed through customs at home, John Xi Jian not only received a new name, but he instantly became a United States citizen with full rights and privileges of citizenship--just like we do when we accept Christ. What a lavish love Abba Father has for us~

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    1. Wow, Tara, what an amazing account! Thanks so much for sharing it! You not only got to see what I saw, but it was deeply personal to you. I really appreciate your blessing us all by giving us that glimpse from one who was so involved. May God pour out His blessing over you and yours!
      —Erick

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  2. Wow - love this post and Tara's comment! Thank you!

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    1. Thanks, "Professor," the moment really spoke to me and I couldn't not share it. And Tara's comment . . . well, words can't fully express what she captured about what it means to be His. I am so grateful that depends on Jesus' work and not mine as I fall so short of anything that could make me worthy of that adoption on my own. But on His work . . . wow! We are so blessed! God bless you. Have a wonderful week! —Erick

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  3. Trust me: The judges say these adoption moments are by far their favorite activity, for the exact contrast described. I know. They told me, in the courtoom, during our own two adoptions since 1998.

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  4. Thanks, "Anonymous," for that insight. Those must have been two very powerful moments for you! I found myself, as the day wore on and the judge was surrounded by deceit, darkness, questions of who to believe, etc., thinking to myself just how much of a breath of fresh air that adoption moment was in the courtroom (probably why all the cheers!) and what it must have meant to the judge. I have a friend who was a police officer who had to coach girls softball to balance out the hours spent with the dark side of man, and I imagine, as you stated, these adoptions are the much longed for balance in an otherwise long day. Again, thanks for sharing! God bless you and your family! —Erick

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