Let me start this week’s blog by pointing out an obvious truth in a very simple statement. There is evil in the world.
In case you are a subscriber to the Joel Osteen, skipping through the daisies, we worship God to make ourselves happy not to actually honor God (true statement – this past week), nothing-bad-happens-to-good-people garbage. . . . sorry, but not really. God never promised an easy road for those who follow Him. In fact, quite the opposite. In Matthew 7:13-14, He describes how most take the wide, easy passage in life and how very few take the narrow, dangerous road. But the latter leads to life, while the former leads to destruction.
I can’t recall ever actively seeking the hard way out, can you? I look for faster routes to destinations – the opening of I-840 a few years ago was a great time-saver if you are headed to Murfreesboro from West Tennessee, or anywhere I-24 east might take you. I try to master the concept of “work smarter, not harder,” even though working harder usually prevails. And no, I don’t say, let’s see if we can turn this 10-minute meeting into two hours, just to guarantee clarity and thoroughness. But, Jaclyn and I certainly feel like we have taken the narrow road at times through this adoption process.
I have well-documented our journey, even before it was a public one. We said “yes” before knowing what we had really agreed to. I won’t belabor it here again, but the challenges pertaining only to the adoption and the process itself have been very real to us – spiritually, mentally, and financially. But, those are things that we trust God to work out for us, knowing that we are following the steps He laid out for us.
But, let’s get back to the evil in the world for a moment. It’s always been there, since the fall of man in the garden of Eden. We like to claim that today’s world is much, much worse than it ever has been. And, maybe just in volume it is. But, read up on your history to find out that murder, fighting, greed, sexual immorality, and outward Godlessness is not a concept invented by the United States nor one that has only emerged in the last fifty years. Brothels in the old west, spoils of ancient wars that included wives of the defeated and legalized theft of possessions and property. Even in the original “first family” a murder marked an early jealous rage from one brother to the next. No, we don’t have the patent on evil at all.
But here’s the thing about evil. We like to bottle it up in some of the categories that I just mentioned, mainly because they are heinous or below common decency, even to those outside the faith, or so we like to think. But let me hurt your feelings the same way mine were hurt upon making this quiet-time discovery this week. Take a moment to take a gander at one verse – II Chronicles 12:14. Go ahead, the blog can wait. . .
OUCH! For those of you (I’m guessing most – slackers) that didn’t actually look, let me give you the slap. It states that “he did evil because he did not determine in his heart to seek the Lord.”
Waaaaiittt a minute. . . . you mean that evil isn’t just the pedophile looking at pornographic pictures of 9-year olds? And it isn’t just the Gangster Disciple on the South Side of Chicago? And it isn’t even isolated to people like Jeffrey Dahmer or Charlie Manson? It includes. . . .gulp. . me. At least it does every time my heart isn’t seeking the Lord. That’s right. Every. Single. Time.
Most of the time, the enemy probably doesn’t bother you because you are already evil. Ouch again! What the crap?! Do you feel like you’re being attacked by the enemy in your life? Then you’re probably of no danger to him in trying to thwart the spread of God’s Kingdom. Dadgum it!!! I’m not coming back to Greg’s blog – he just rants instead of telling me how big the baby is or whether or not Jennifer has joined a cult.
Like a lot of guys, I love a good gangster movie. All three Godfather movies (#2 is the best – #3 might not should have been made), the Untouchables, Casino, Donnie Brasco, and Goodfellas are all great. (Not a big fan of Scarface, in case you think I forgot.) Granted, the pure evil on display there is fodder for another blog, so we won’t address it. The Untouchables is the story of Eliot Ness, the government agent that took down Al Capone – for tax evasion. At the outset of Ness’ involvement in the movie, Capone doesn’t even worry about Ness. He knows he has some of Chicago’s police forces and judges in his pocket, so Ness isn’t even a blip on his radar. In fact, he is a joke. But, when Ness makes his first raid on a post office that Capone controlled, he took notice (and killed the operative over the post office). And, when Ness intercepted an arms delivery on the Canadian border, killing and/or arresting all of Capone’s men in the process. Capone turned full attention. He even (paraphrased) said “I want him dead, I want his family dead, I want his house burned to the ground.” Once he was a threat to Capone, Ness was not just a target. . he was the target.
So, for us, if we are really on the battlefield for Christ, if we are truly trying to determine in our hearts to seek the Lord, as mentioned in the verse earlier, we will be a target.
Here’s me being 100% transparent and honest (because that never happens, right?). For the past 4-5 months we have felt defeated on more than one occasion. The first couple of months, we sulked and pouted over the loss of the first adoption connection and all of the financial and emotional losses that came with it. Since then, and since matching with our current birth mother, we keep getting pounded in real life with things that no one probably knows about. It might be a family relationship, something with one (or both) of our jobs that punches us in the gut, or even normal family disagreements between the two of us or amongst our little quiver of Scotts. Regardless, there are some days we are sick and tired of it. I don’t mind the days that something affects or frustrates only me as much, but the days that one of my kids has been hit with something, or especially when Jaclyn is down – I usually lose on those days. You just don’t mess with the ones I love.
But, I also take it as further confirmation that we are in the center of God’s will through this adoption process. After all, if the enemy hasn’t taken a few swings at you, then he isn’t worried about you. And for the past few months, we apparently have his attention.
This week, please pray that Jennifer continues to make wise decisions with her personal health and safety. She is 34 weeks now, and (last week) the baby measured at just over four pounds. (Which means she showed up for another doctor’s appointment – yeah, Jennifer!) We also ask that you pray that the details (flights, housing, legal paperwork, etc) start working themselves out as well. We completed an update of our home study that is due annually, so that is one hurdle already scaled. We also ask that you pray that we do finally agree on a name – we are currently at a standoff. . good thing neither of us is stubborn.
Thank you to all who check on us, pray for us, and are getting just as excited as we are about the next few weeks!
“Rehoboam did what was evil, because he did not determine in his heart to seek the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 12:14