Two things that have been on my mind a lot lately: Adoption and Heaven.
I began reading this book, Adopted for Life, by Russell Moore, and wanted to share this section that resonated with me. This is only a small excerpt, if you get the chance, I HIGHLY recommend reading it. It is packed rich. Not even if you get the chance, make the chance!
It’s a bit lengthy, but please read… for reference, Russell Moore and his wife adopted 2 little boys, only 3 months apart from a rural Russian Orphanage.
The Abba cry just might be the most easily misunderstood and misinterpreted aspects of the biblical revelation of our adoption (our adoption by God, through Christ). How many of us have heard Abba described as an infant cooing out the words, “Da-Da” or “Pa-Pa”? This cry though in context of the Scriptures, is not an infantile cooing. The Abba cry is a scream. It’s at he sound of a child screaming, ”Daddy!” as his face is being ripped by a rabid bulldog. It’s a primal scream.
The bible tells us, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death…(heb5:7) Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane isn’t placidly staring…He is screaming to his father for deliverance, to the point that the veins in his temples burst into drops of blood (Luke 22:39-44). That’s the Abba cry. It’s the scream of the crucified.
Of all the disturbing aspects of the orphanage in which we found our boys, one stands out above all others in its horror. It was quiet. The place was filled with an eerie silence, quieter than the Library of Congress, despite the fact that there were cribs full of babies in every room. If you listened intently enough, you could hear the sound of gently rocking-as babies rocked themselves back and forth in their beds. They didn’t cry because no one responded to their cries. So they stopped. That’s a dehumanizing horror.
The first moment that I knew the boys had received us, is some strange and preliminary way, was the moment we walked out of the room for the last time on that first trip. When little Maxim, now Benjamin, fell back in his crib and cried-the first time I ever heard him do it-it was because, for whatever reason, he seamed to think he’d been heard and, for whatever reason, he no longer liked the prospect of being alone in the dark.
That is where the Spirit is leading us in Christ. The Spirit doesn’t lead us to be toothy, giddy caricature of a “spirit-filled” Christian. The Spirit leads us to see we are in enemy-occupied territory, and he teaches us to rage against the machine…to cry out with the rest of the universe, “O, God deliver us from this, this is not how it’s supposed to be!”
It is through this kind of praying that we know we have “received the spirit of adoption and sons” (rom. 8:15). Through this, “the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs” (Rom.8:16-17)…
The Abba cry is a groan…”the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (rom. 8:22). It is hard for us to hear the tenor and terror in that verse, living with the kinds of medical technology we have all around us…
The whole universe, Paul says, is screaming out like that- “longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom8.19) Yes, the creation ‘waits’ patiently, but it’s a patience that screams along the way.
But its not just the creation screaming, Paul writes that “we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (rom8:23). ..
The Bible speaks, paradoxically, of our adoption in Christ as a past event but also as a future one. “we wait eagerly for adoption as sons,” Paul writes, and he tells us what that looks like: “the redemption of our bodies”. We legally belong to our father. But as long as our bodies are dying, as long as the universe is heaving in pain around us, it sure looks like we are orphans still. We know that we’re children by faith, not by sight.
I want to see that orphanage one more time. When the boys are older, maybe twelve or fourteen, I plan to make the trip again, with them. I want them to see, to feel where they came form…I’m sure their eyes will widen as we walk up those creaking steps into that horror movie-looking front door. They’ll probably go limp inside, just like I did, when they see all those abandoned toddlers peering out from the corners of the doors inside…I am not sure what they will think of the orphanage. But I’m quite sure they won’t call it home.