When we first decided to adopt, I realized that we had entered spiritual war. It makes absolute sense, of course. Satan is not pleased at all with the fact that two more children will be taken out of a life of hopelessness and despair and will be raised in the knowledge of God. He is not happy that they will be loved and taught that their adoption is a beautiful reflection of God's redeeming love and adoption of us as his children. Can you just hear him declaring war?!
Because my emotions had been up and down so much at the beginning of our process, I knew I needed to prepare myself. When the Bible speaks of believers putting on the full armor of God so that we can stand firm when evil comes, the only offensive weapon we are told to take is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God". Hebrews 4:12 declares that the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It makes complete sense when you look at Christ's life. When he was tempted by Satan, he quoted scripture because God's word is truth. Those truths caused Satan to depart from Him. Satan backs down when God's word is used because it is truth and even he knows it.
I knew that Satan was really trying to get my mind and my emotions. I prayed and asked God to teach me something that would give me strength and that I could defend myself with. And so, comes in the story from Matthew 14:22-36. Jesus' disciples are out in a boat without him. During the night, Jesus walks out on the water to them. The disciples don't recognize that it's Jesus and think he's a ghost so they cry out in fear. Immediately, Jesus says, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." The disciple Peter, who is in the boat, wants to believe that it is Jesus so he says, "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you on the water." So, Jesus says, "Come". Peter then climbs out of the boat and begins walking on the water (!!!!). Can you imagine??? Unfortunately, Peter sees the wind, becomes afraid and begins to sink. As he is sinking, he cries out, "Lord, save me!" Jesus then immediately reaches out his hand to catch Peter and says, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"
God used several things to impress on me from this story. One of them was that when the disciples were first fearful, Jesus immediately comforted them with three simple sentences.
Courage, as defined by Webster's, is the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult or painful instead of withdrawing from it; quality of being fearless or brave.
Jesus acknowledges in two words that the disciples could indeed "take courage". Enough said.
IT IS I.
The disciples knew him. They spent time with him. They had seen all that he had done...all the miracles that he had performed. They saw how he ministered to people They saw he lived a perfect life. Because of what they had witnessed of him and the time they had spent with him, they could know that he was who he said he was.
God spoke quietly to me that I know him. I know who he is, how he has been faithful and loving to me in the days and years before. He is the same God today. It is him.
DON'T BE AFRAID.
Fear (Webster's) means a feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger, evil or pain.
Danger, evil and pain DO NOT need to result in fear. God says so.
I cannot tell you the number of times that I have quoted these three small sentences since we started our adoption process. They are a sharp sword that I use to strike at Satan whenever I feel a twinge of fear, anxiety or worry. You see, I want to "walk on water". I don't want to sink. I want to have great faith. I want to believe my God when he says,
"TAKE COURAGE! IT IS I. DON'T BE AFRAID."