Thursday Thematics: The Year of the Lord's Favor

Thursday Thematics is a new and ongoing series of posts focused on given topics or passages of scripture relevant to adoption, knowing God, and learning to live simply and love radically. Please feel free to tweet theme suggestions to me @AmandaEPeterson.

For our first theme, we're walking through the anointments of Isaiah 61--the passage Jesus read in the Nazareth synagogue at the beginning of his earthly ministry (Luke 4:16-20). After finishing his reading, Jesus rolls up the scroll and says to the crowd, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." If this scripture has been fulfilled, how does a fulfilled version of Isaiah 61 impact our lives today?


...to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God...

With my adoption in the in-between place--in the waiting and the paperwork and the approvals and the waiting--my heart feels in the in-between place too.

Yesterday was a difficult day. A difficult day because I found out the process is going very smoothly but is going to take longer than we hoped. Probably not home for Christmas and family as we had hoped.

That hurts.

It hurts in a way I have no words for.

It hurts in a longing way and a deeply anguishing way and a telling yourself to hold onto the glimmer of good and the glimmer of hope way.

I'm caught in this in between place where I know in the deepest parts of me that Hannah* is my daughter but yet she's not my daughter.

My daughter in the pray everyday for every moment of her life.
Not my daughter in the waking her up for school.
My daughter in the aching when she aches.
Not my daughter in the preparing her favorite dinner.
My daughter in the language I use when I talk about her.
Not my daughter in the holding her close and kissing her forehead.

It's a here and yet coming kind of thing. And it hurts beyond hurting but produces hope beyond hope.
___

When Jesus quotes Isaiah's proclamation in Luke 4:18-20, he ends his reading with the line, "to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" and does not finish the couplet, leaving out "and the day of vengeance of our God."

This omission was another way of Jesus saying to his listeners the kingdom of God has come and is yet still coming. Here I am, bringing the kingdom--bringing grace and acceptance and favor and restored relationship with the Lord--but I'm still coming again to bring the kingdom--to bring vengeance on my enemies and an end to sin and death. Here I am fulfilling this proclamation in your hearing, but there is more to be proclaimed, more to be made right.

Jesus is setting us up for the inward groaning we eagerly await the appeasing of. He is setting us up to be made right and walk along side others sharing our Good News and to eagerly await his return--his return with the fullness of the kingdom.

I can't honestly say I've ever groaned in my spirit for Jesus' coming. I can't say with honesty I'm eagerly awaiting the day. I would be lying because I secretly often think, "Jesus, we're still working on it. We need more time. I need more time." I don't long for the fullness of reunification with God. I don't long for it because I want to keep doing good with my own two hands. I want to keep bettering the world as it is and to keep trying.

I am known to occasionally in a moment of frustration throw my hands up in the air and tell Jesus, "Today, right now would be good," but we both know I don't mean it.

However, the groaning for the fullness and the completion of the adoption...that...that is true. That groaning is deep within my spirit as a I pray and long for it's fullness, it's completion.

And I wonder as I write, if it's like this for God. If his Spirit groans for our homecoming for the fullness of our adoption.

Hannah, I won't say blissfully, but thankfully is unaware of the adoption. I've had many tell me since I've left how much she misses me and how grateful she is to be able to talk to me "on the computer" through the miracle of Skype (and yes, I do absolutely believe Skype is a miracle). I've even read in one school report how she considers me to be her family. But thankfully, she does not know I've left in order to adopt her--that I've left to make her legally my family. And I say thankfully because the burden of the waiting would be too hard on her almost eight-year-old self not to mention the horror of it all falling apart. And I'm glad I can at least a bit protect her from the groaning that is in my heart.

Papa God, do you groan for us like that? Do you groan for the proper time when all the paperwork is in order and everything is set right? Do you know my feeble heart cannot take the groaning? Cannot take the waiting? Cannot take the full knowledge of the separation?

I hope he does. And I hope he will tell me of it someday as someday I will tell Hannah how I prayed and how I hoped and how I worked and how I groaned for the day she would come home.
______________________
*Hannah is a pseudonym I use in my online activity to protect my someday daughter's identity until she is fully and legally mine.

Please consider supporting Hannah's adoption by visiting the Just Love Coffee website and purchasing great, fair trade coffee through our storefront.


Like today's post? Read other posts in this series:
Proclaiming Good News to the Poor
Binding Up the Brokenhearted
Proclaiming Freedom for the Captives