On a bright sunny day in Bowling Green Kentucky, Bryan and Kerri brought Harper to the Country Courthouse. The honorable David Lamphear was the Family Court Justice presiding that morning. Judge Lamphear is a member and elder at the West End church of Christ in Bowling Green.
Harper was there to celebrate her “Judgement Day”. The judge had reviewed a number of official documents connected to the journey Harper and her new parents had taken over the previous several months. Judge Lamphear’s authority and duty extended to the affirmation that the adoption process had been followed both in letter and in the spirit of the law. The parents were qualified as determined by the common wealth of Kentucky and the legal process had been properly adhered to in all respects so that Harper had every right, privilege and honor to become the legal child of Bryan and Kerri. They precisely followed the way the states of Kentucky and Arizona [were Harper was born] had specified for the adoption to occur.
It wasn’t all paperwork, with properly dotted i’s and well crossed t’s, the room was filled with friends and family. This was the “great cloud of witnesses” who had been there all along, cheering, praying and encouraging Bryan, Kerri and Harper from the moment the journey began. There were smiles, tears, laughter, clapping and lots of pictures to celebrate and memorialize Harpers judgement day.
In the middle of all the official and unofficial celebrations, the serious stuff and the wonderful stuff sat the beautiful four month old Harper, with a bright blue bow and big brown eyes. Her eyes darted back and forth like a dragonfly, her face changed expression every few seconds in the middle of all the ceremony, activities and sounds. But the most obvious unseen fact in the moment was that Harper had no possible way to know how much work and how many people had been involved behind the scenes to bring her to this judgement day and into her brand new home. It was simply impossible for her little mind to comprehend.
I thought about the moment and saw at least three applications to our spiritual adoption.
Jesus Shows us the Way
Adoption is born from grace and love but there is a well defined path and process to make it legal and right. Jesus says “I am the way the truth and the life”. Once on a road to Capernaum and overhearing His disciples arguing over who would be the greatest in the kingdom, Jesus’ reminded them, the greatest in My kingdom will be the last of all and the servant of all. He continued to make that point crystal clear. Illustrating what “last” and “servant” means, He took a little child and said, “Whoever receives a child like this in My name receives Me, and he who receives Me receives not Me but the One that sent Me.” Finally on the night he was betrayed Jesus took time for one more lesson to show His disciples, “the Way.” After supper he clothed Himself with a towel and began to wash their feet. When He finished He asked, “Do you know what I have done to you?” He answered for them, “I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you DO THEM.” John 13. Later, Thomas, the doubter asks in response to Jesus’ promise of His preparations for them, He would return for them and that they knew the way says, “Lord we do not know where you are going and how can we know the way?” Jesus replies, I think going back to the example He had just given in the washing of their feet, “I am the way, the truth and the life…” John 14.
Yes, we are saved by the sacrificial blood of Christ, we are saved by faith and not by works, for we are His workmanship prepared for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2. Jesus describes God’s judgement day for us by what we have done for others. This is the day our adoption is determined to have followed the necessary way. Matthew 25
Our minds are incapable of completely understanding all the hidden things our Father has and is doing behind the scenes to adopt us and bring us home.
Even before Harper was born Bryan and Kerri were preparing a place for her. It was beyond baby Harpers ability to comprehend even in the smallest way all that was being done before hand and behind the scenes to make a home for her. She had no ability to know that Bryan and Kerri would come for her and bring her home.
On our own and of our own accord we would not, could not know what God and Christ have done behind the scenes and beyond our comprehensions to prepare a place for us. Likewise, without the good news, the gospel we are blind on how to make our adoption possible. Not only that but Paul reminds us,
But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.1 Corinthians 9
There really is a great cloud of witnesses, cheering us on.
From the moment Harper was “matched” dozens of friends and family as well as the necessary “professionals” were working hard, praying hard and cheering hard for Harper and her soon to be family. Everyone so connected to this journey knew about the challenges, the uncertainties and the possibilities of failure but they couldn’t stop the hoping and the encouragement. The hope was real, the home was real and the difficulties are worth it.
The writer of Hebrews assures us, “For God is not unjust to forget your labor of love.” The way is clear we come to God by serving others. There really is a home prepared and there really are saints cheering us one.
Do not grow weary in well doing.