When I reminisce on our adoption story I have written so far, I am concerned about where the story ended because it seems bleak as I reread. Starting with elation, going through tribulation, experiencing triumph, falling into depression—these were real and strong emotional experiences in my life. As a passionate person, I don’t experience much superficially. I delve into the deep and want to explore every part—the seemingly good, the seemingly bad. Seemingly. I like to turn experiences inside out and learn from all. The part of our adoption story you haven’t read, because I haven’t written it yet, is about how much God has taught me about Himself and His values, how much He has taught me and changed me by allowing hardship and grief and loss and how I wrestled with it all, how I wrestled with Him through it all.
One of the overarching themes of my life, these 54 years to be marked a week from Friday, is finding that those experiences once defined as “bad”, as horribly painful, are indeed the greatest blessings in life when placed in the hands of our God who promises to work all things for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
I have been pondering this truth lately—how a good God can allow “bad” things to happen to those he loves—like life-long disabilities in children who were once orphans. How can a good God endure watching the pain, the tears, the heartbreak? I can only surmise that a good God can stand such a burden if He believes He is birthing better. If God in His omniscience knows what is to come if His created will allow His holy hand to mold, would He not be standing beside us and around us and over and under, cheering us on, encouraging us to hold on and endure because the best is yet to come? I believe so. If we, imperfect though we are, can encourage those we love through the hardest of times, does God not do the same and more?
What is God’s purpose for us but to be restored to perfection—to be restored to the place we can only faintly remember or maybe have altogether forgotten? We know it. Each of us longs for more, for better, for perfect. We want perfect bodies and souls. We want perfect relationships. We want a world perfectly working and at peace. We want a perfect creation where there is no pain and killing. We want beauty that awes. Basically, we want heaven on earth. Augustine said it eons ago. We were made with this hole that will never be satisfied until it is filled with the One who made us and intends for us to be made whole once again with Himself.
Evidence that we long for such filling came yesterday. A royal birth occurred and his appearance rocked the world as his mother and father rocked him for the first time outside the womb. While the royal parents rocked privately, the commoners rocked publically. What causes human beings to become so jubilant over royalty? Is it because we were all meant to be royal? Is it because we all long to be royal? Is it because, somewhere deep inside each of us, we want to be princes and princesses and kings and queens? Is it because we ARE royalty but have forgotten because we’ve gone so far from the palace and lived so long in the pig sties and we’re covered in slop but we want to go home and we’re—just—not—sure—how to go back? How can commoners be received into the royal kingdom? How can we ever go home when we’ve wandered so far?
We revel in fantasy. We want to be royalty. The saddest fact of all in life is this—we already ARE royalty! We’ve just forgotten. We’ve forgotten who we are and we act like what we’re not. We act like the pigs with which we have chosen to live, not like the God like whom we’re created to reflect. We wear grime instead of crowns. We hide in our dark cells fashioned by our dark wishes instead of walking freely in the airy and bright rooms of the royal palace where we belong.
But commoners and grime are not welcome in the palace. And we know—oh, how we know—how far we have wandered away from home. We know we’re not like HIM. We know we don’t dare come knocking on the gilded door guarded by cherubim. So we stay put in the swine trough, dreaming up fantasies of being rescued by royalty and loved forever and ever, heart-holes filled, all yearnings satisfied. This is the stuff of children’s stories. Fairy tales. Not real life. But what if it IS real life? What if our deepest yearnings are but memories of paradise lost? What if what we all most want, if we could ever even admit, is something we once had but gave up? What if we ARE royalty destined to rule but we gave away our birthright to become commoners and eat with the pigs?
We did exactly that. We wandered far from our palace, straight out the gilded doors, slamming them behind us as we went, not bothering to say when, or if, we’d be back. We traveled far from glory in search of new territory where we could rule by ourselves and be done with submission. Because we weren’t satisfied to be princes and princesses. We wanted more. We wanted to be King. We wanted to be the King of kings.
But the only way to usurp is to kill. It’s been done before throughout history on earth. But in the spiritual realm, who can kill God? Some have tried but the closest they’ve come is by declaring He doesn’t exist. It’s sort of like young children covering their eyes and believing because they can’t see, their parent isn’t there. But when they remove their hands, how delighted they are to discover their parent is right in front of their face!
God is still here, right in front of our face! And He wants us back in the palace where we belong!
So I say today, rise up royal family! Rise up and be who you were created to be! We are princes and princesses of the Most High God, destined to rule with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ who came to this earth as a baby and whose entrance rocked this world more than any other birth ever did or ever will. He rocked this world with His love and His truth. He rocked this world with His life and His death. He rocked this world with His resurrection. God has rocked this world, redeeming it from the beginning of the time when we decided we didn’t want to be royal anymore unless we could be royal on OUR terms.
The King shall remain King. There has never been a successful coup in the heavenlies and there never will be. We either come back to our rightful place as princes and princesses forever under the lordship of our forever King or we live as outcasts with none of the privilege. It’s our choice. Palaces are not prisons. We can go as we please. But neither are palaces public places with multiple entrances for anyone. Palaces are places of splendor. Would we want anything less? Would we want to live in palaces desecrated? No. I wouldn’t. I want beauty beyond description. I want perfection. I want . . .
God the Father, Jesus the Son, and Holy Spirit—as it was in the beginning. I want nothing less than perfection to rule forever.
I want to live in the perfect palace. I want to gaze on the beauty of my King and enjoy His presence as His daughter. I want to walk about in royal robes given back, cleaned perfectly by His mercy and grace in Christ Jesus. I want to come back and never leave again. Because this is where I belong. We were born to be royal. We were meant to be royal.
Come back to the palace, people! Jesus stands at the door! He paid the price of our admission at Calvary. We can come back in and stay if only we will let Him cleanse us and clothe us in His righteousness—in His perfection—in His royalty. He is now, He was, He will be forever . . .
Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.
We don’t need to wish. We don’t need to fantasize. We don’t need to worship earthly princes and princesses and their babies. We need to give our hearts what really satisfies—to remember, once again, the princes and princesses we already are, in Christ, and to come to Him and allow Him to make us fit for palace life—the true life we all want. We need to wake up from our fantasies and realize royalty CAN be our reality—in Christ alone.
And what if we lived royally, in submission to the King of Kings, as we were made to be?
Ah, that’s a subject for another day . . .
First photograph–Summer Palace outside St. Petersburg, Russia. Following photographs–Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia.