I have mentioned a few times that our church is in the process of working our way through the Book of Revelation. Well, today was our last Sunday. And I have to say that I am sad it is over. When we first started working through the final (and possibly most controversial) book in the Bible, I was nervous and for a few different reasons. First, I have always just been intimidated by the book itself. John uses so much crazy imagery that I found it hard to follow. Secondly, I know that Revelation can be a hot button issue among believers, and Christians have been (severely in some cases) dividing over issues in this book for centuries. Thirdly, there are parts of Revelation that just plain terrify me. However, now that we are on the other side of it, I am so glad that our pastor was bold enough to follow what the Lord had been placing on his heart and teach through this difficult text. I really appreciate how our pastor taught this book. I think a lot of people look at Revelation as a crystal ball that can tell us exactly when Christ is coming back. Our pastor did not approach it that way. Instead, we spent most of the study looking at what Revelation says about who Christ is and how that should impact our lives as Believers.
John paints a very clear picture in Revelation of who Jesus is. Our pastor summarized everything we have learned about Christ over the last three months studying this book in this way (The following has been taken from The Church at Brook Hills worship guide for Sunday, November 4, 2012.)
OK, so why am I sharing all of this? Because it is the single most important thing I could ever tell you. Jesus Christ is all of these things. Every single one of them. And this same Christ, He loves you. He died for you. He did that so that you and me and anyone who calls on His name can spend all of eternity with Him and with the Father in perfect bliss. I think back to how hesitant I was to start this blog, to how impossibly enormous the idea of international adoption seemed seven months ago. All of it seemed so utterly beyond me, beyond my capabilities. And it was. It is. But it is happening. The more I think and pray about it, the more I realize that the Lord gave me the courage to share our story here, for anyone in the world to see (an idea that still kinda gives me the heeby jeebies), so that I could use what He is doing in our lives to point people to Him. He alone deserves the honor, glory and credit for what is happening. He alone has been faithful to us over the last seven months as we have been racing through paperwork, signing away our lives and wondering about waiting list numbers. He alone has been faithful when I have tried to walk away, tried to tell God that I have just had enough, tried to tell God that this is just too hard and that He picked the wrong person for this. He has been faithful, speaking truth to my heart through His Word, through our friends, through our pastor, through faithful adoptive moms who have had the courage to share their stories, too.
I am starting to feel like I am rambling, but what I want you to know, what I feel like God is wanting me to share is that if Jesus is in fact all of those things (and He is), then he deserves our worship, our lives. He deserves more than a casual, church-on-Sundays commitment from us. He gave His life, His life for us. He conquered death for us. He sits at the right had of the Father and intercedes for us. And when we stand before God, guilty in our sin, He will stand in for us and tell the Father that we are His, because we have been washed by His blood and made clean for all eternity. All you have to do is ask. He loves you already, and He longs for you to ask.
One of the biggest reasons I think the Lord has us in the adoption world right now is so that we will have a better understanding of the Gospel. I know that sounds strange, but let me try to explain. Again, sorry if I am rambling. I just want to get it all out. We are adopted. As a follower of Christ, I am an adopted daughter of the Most High. Romans 8:15-17 tells us that, "The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." So, because I know Christ as my Savior and Lord, I have been adopted into God's family as His daughter (also see Ephesians 1:4-6).
Now, for how this relates to where we are right now. I lived part of my life outside of God's family. I was not born as a daughter of the King. I did not do a thing to deserve my adoption; it was 100% God. He actively chose to pursue me. It was not an accident. Jesus did not accidentally die on the cross and rise from the dead. He did it on purpose. It was His will, His choice. He loved me WAY before I loved Him. Obviously, this is on a much smaller scale, but I do already love our child. I dream about him/her. I think about him/her all the time. I long for the day when we will be together, and this child will be mine and no one can ever do anything about it. BUT our child will not be born with a love for me. That is hard, but it is true. Adam and I will have to demonstrate our love first, and then our child will love us in return and feel safe and know that he/she is a part of our family forever. I am so grateful to God for opening my eyes to the way He loved me first. It makes me love Him more.
So, I hope you know Him. And if you don't, ask Him (and if you have questions, I would love to try to answer them). He already loves you. He conquered sin and death for you. 2 Peter 3 tells us that He is slow in coming back because He doesn't want anyone to perish. He longs to bring you into His family.
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8