“She bent forward to look, then gave a startled little cry and drew back. There was indeed a seed lying in the palm of his hand, but it was shaped exactly like a long, sharply-pointed thorn… ‘The seed looks very sharp,’ she said shrinkingly. ’Won’t it hurt if you put it into my heart?’
He answered gently, ‘It is so sharp that it slips in very quickly. But, Much-Afraid, I have already warned you that Love and Pain go together, for a time at least. If you would know Love, you must know pain too.’
Much-Afraid looked at the thorn and shrank from it. Then she looked at the Shepherd’s face and repeated his words to herself. ’When the seed of Love in your heart is ready to bloom, you will be loved in return,’ and a strange new courage entered her. She suddenly stepped forward, bared her heart, and said, ‘Please plant the seed here in my heart.’
His face lit up with a glad smile and he said with a note of joy in his voice, ‘Now you will be able to go with me to the High Places and be a citizen in the Kingdom of my Father.’
Then he pressed the thorn into her heart. It was true, just as he had said, it did cause a piercing pain, but it slipped in quickly and then, suddenly, a sweetness she had never felt or imagined before tingled through her. It was bittersweet, but the sweetness was the stronger. She thought of the Shepherd’s words, ‘It is so happy to love,’ and her pale, sallow cheeks suddenly glowed pink and her eyes shown. For a moment Much-Afraid did not look afraid at all.”
― Hannah Hurnard, Hinds’ Feet on High Places
This may seem like a strange post to put into an adoption series but I think it applies well. Many of us have come to the journey of adoption through very painful situations. In pretty much every adoption there is elements of pain and suffering and loss for someone. But like the thorn even though the pain is very real the blossoming of an adoption is so worth it and can heal many wounds.
Adoption is a picture of the Gospel. We were once left to die, helpless in our sin, nothing appealing about us, having nothing to offer. BUT GOD reached down in His love and compassion and made us His own… heirs to a Kingdom! I love being around those who were saved out of really bad situations and those who felt they were too far gone for God to have ever saved them… but He did. I find there is this love for their savior that I often don’t experience. And His word says… “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Luke 7:47. I am just as in need of His forgiveness as any other person but I think there is something about the fact that some people have tasted sin and death in such a way that life and freedom when given to them is all the more sweeter.
Adoption is similar I think… I think when you’ve walked down dark valleys and through rocky paths and around steep bends I think that once you have that little one in your arms… it’s just sweeter. And over time…. deeper.
So Mama whose babies are stuck over in a country that is being ravaged by disease and malnutrition and you don’t know when you will get to bring them home… He does. He will sustain you and the lifetime you will have with these babies will be all the more sweeter.
Husband and wife who have tried month after month to conceive but haven’t and are almost out of ideas to try, money to spend and tears to shed… He hears and He collects everyone of those tears. You don’t understand now but one day you will look at a family photo and shudder to think what would your life be like without those sweet asian eyes or that deep chocolate skin against those white teeth that are smiling back at you.
Foster mom, you wonder if this child will ever act normal…. if they will ever stop rejecting your love… if you somehow messed up your other childrens lives by doing this… if you will ever get a child that will stay and become yours… if you are enough to help this child through his/her hurt…. Press into Him, Let the thorn slip in, Embrace the pain knowing that you have access to the Healer and the Comforter and the giver of all Wisdom.
It was bittersweet, but the sweetness was the stronger.