Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The “Risk” of Adoption

One of the things we’re learning about ourselves is just how domesticated our faith in Jesus had become. We’ve insulated ourselves from any sort of risk. Without risk there is no opportunity for faith. We aren’t asked to take arbitrary risks just for risk sake. We’re simply asked to follow Jesus. Sometimes that will involve risks. Sometimes not.

Listening to some Christians (especially the TV-types with the spooky hair) would make you think that all aspects of our lives get better when we start following Jesus. But where did we ever get the idea that following Jesus was about reducing risk? It seems like a big part of Christianity (at least in our lives) has been about safety, security, and comfort. About not sticking our necks out too far.

I was reading a book by Erwin McManus the other day. He told about a speaker at some sort of church growth conference who encouraged a group of pastors to be “early adopters” not “mushroom tasters.” In other words, sit back and wait for someone else to taste the mushroom first. If they live, be the first to follow. If they die, hey, at least you’re still alive. The implication? God would never allow you to be a mushroom taster. That’s someone else’s job. God’s job for you is to stay safe and comfortable.

Here’s another favorite: “Being in the center of God’s will is the safest place to be.” Where did that saying ever come from? I don’t think Jesus ever would have said it.

"You will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me." Matthew 24:9

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." John 9:23

"No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." John 15:20

Stephen was stoned to death because of one sermon about Jesus. One sermon! Barnabas was also stoned. Matthew was killed by the sword. Mark was dragged to death by horses. Peter was crucified upside down. Bartholomew was whipped to death. Thomas was speared to death. Jesus’ brother, James, was thrown from a tower. His brother, Jude, was killed with arrows. Matthias, James, John the Baptist, and the Apostle Paul were all beheaded.

Sounds like a real safe domesticated faith to me!

I don’t dare even compare our adoption to the risks these guys took. Which I guess is my point. Adoption is relatively risk-free. Thousands have done it very successfully. Yet to many people in America it seems like a HUGE risk. It threatens family stability, future plans, social status, and financial security.

To the early church (and much of the international persecuted church of today) who risked their lives daily for the gospel our adoption probably wouldn’t be on their risk radar. After all, these guys sold their possessions and gave to anyone in need (Acts 2:45). Adopting orphans may have been an average, run-of-the-mill occurrence, not viewed as risky at all (my speculation, not scripture). No wonder their faith is so much stronger than ours. God help us!


At 9:40 PM , Anonymous Holly said...

Tracy and Rhonda,

Hi! Got the link from your mom. :) Welcome to the blogworld...or maybe you've been here for awhile?

We were thrilled to learn of your adoption journey. How very, very wonderful. We will be praying for you during the remainder of your paper "pregnancy." The only good thing I can think of about that is that no one gets stretch marks. :)

We're some of those "crazies" you wrote about a few posts back...children past thirty...only we've been changing diapers for 14 years. :) We are open to more of our own, or to any that God brings us. Children, of any shape, size or stripe - who need parents - are sure to be instruments of God's maturation in our lives. They remind us that life isn't all about "us," not all about our comfort...

We know of families who have 7 or 8 children, who have adopted 9 more. (!) I'm sure they can testify to God's hand and blessing in their lives.

Your family will be so much richer because of all of this. And no, there are no guarantees that everything will be easy. I think that has been one of the biggest realizations I've had of late...LIFE isn't supposed to be easy, or even pretty...God never said that. But what we do here surely does matter for eternity.

May God be particularly near throughout this process. We will pray for your current children and your "new children!" God already knows who they are!

In Him,

Holly (for Jeff and the rest of the family) Johnson

At 10:58 PM , Anonymous Dave & Jill Tippett said...

Seems like so many Christians (me in the lead) like to sit back in their Christian "recliner" and pretend that our lives were meant for that--i.e., the relative comfort and security we build around us with money, social status, our jobs, accomplishments, going to church, doing a spattering of ministry, maybe even a missions trip once in a great while, safe in our Christian ghettos, thinking "I am SO in God's will", when I wonder if God is just weeping....weeping over those of us who never step out in real faith, in real obedience, to do what every human being is called to so, and that is make a difference in the lives of others--like you all have done.

Risks? Sure. Finances. Social issues. Logistics. General anxiety. I do wonder though if Jesus sometimes just laughs at us--not in a mean way, but more like a parent who's child is rambling on about how bad things are and how afraid they are, when all he wants to do is grab us up and say, "See , look out there--that's the big picture you can't always see--it's called perspective my kids"

Always get annoyed when I hear folks say, "there is so much need here, why reach out to those across the seas".. I heard a great answer--"yeah, the poor person down the road doesn't have a cell phone, but the person in (name any 3rd world country) doesn't have clean water to drink". Or even any sort of chance at life--until people like you guys get out of that recliner and say, enough is enough, there are kids who need us.

White parents of black kids huh. Wow. I understand some of the implications of that, but there is Jesus again, laughing at all the 'stuff' that goes with that, saying "So, all you who doubt this can or should work--we need to talk. Do you really think I died for a certain skin color? HELLO. I don't care who's color is who, just HELP each other".

You all have our undying support as you speed down this road of faith. Keep looking out the windshield, and we'll cover up the rear view mirrors. (I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good. Smile).

At 10:30 AM , Blogger David and Marianne said...

Hi! My name is Marianne Gross. My husband and I are in the process of adopting a little girl from Guatemala. A friend of mine who I assume must be a friend of one of your friends forwarded me your cute story from the SCC concert.

Thank you so much for taking some time to write your thoughts on the risk of adoption. I know the Lord led me to your blog today to be reminded of those truths of taking risks for Him.

We are supposed to receive a referral TODAY...and we are "fighting" doubts about accepting it because of all the turmoil going on in Guatemalan adoptions and the uncertainty with pending adoptions. Yet we are clinging to our faith that God is bigger than the governments of Guatemala and the U.S.

So thank you for your words of spiritual wisdom!

At 9:04 PM , Blogger cjsanderson said...

Thanks Tracy for your honesty and words from Gods word! How very true, sometimes I wonder just what are we doing? We have no idea what risking our lives for the Lord is about.

At 2:49 PM , Blogger Mother Goose said...

Found your blog today. I am 100% sure God led me here. We are just beginning the process and have been so obsessed about the risk. Thank you for this.


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