I entered the airport, stark and white, in a new country, a new land. I expected a welcoming committee complete with fur hats. Instead the halls were empty except for intimidating looking guards with guns slung over their shoulder. What kind of land had I entered? This was Poland nearly a decade after the fall of communism. Still paranoid, still fearful, still wading around the shores of democracy. The kingdom of heaven is not immune to violence. Christians know what it is like to suffer at the hands of those who fear it.
“And form the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize-a share in the heavenly kingdom is ought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion]. – Matthew 11:12
I don’t care for violence, being a middle child-peace maker. I veer from confrontation and steer clear of force. I can’t handle watch grab-the-edge- of-your- seat television series where one catastrophe after another leaves the characters reeling and wounded, only to start afresh the next episode mentally stable and ready for battle again when in reality they would need years of counseling. I feel as if I need counseling after viewing just a few minutes.
Several weeks ago, Pastor Crabtree taught a lesson on this verse. He talked about the violence being perpetrated on Christians today and throughout history. After I got home, I couldn’t put this verse aside. I meditated on it. Wrote it down. Meditated again. I looked up violence in the Greek-
βιαστής biastēs which means a forcer, energetic, violent
I began to examine the word in a new light. There are different types of violence: murder, assault, rape, martyring, neglect…these are evident and these create orphans. There is another sort of less evident violence, it still involves force, a strong will and ardent zeal, but this sort of violence is quiet. It is pounding away at ideologies before the hammer comes to knock down actual Berlin walls ( Germany celebrates 25 years since Berlin wall fell ). It is lobbying for change in laws in the marbled halls of capitol buildings for years before pen signs paper.
“Whenever there is an interaction between two objects, there is a force upon each of these objects. When the interaction ceases, the two objects no longer experience the force.”- http://www.physicsclassroom.com
The kingdom of heaven is a prize. We must seize it with force, with zeal, with violence of another sort. Like gravity, we should be the force that pulls things to Christ. It is a pushing back against the world. It is a kind of force needed for prayer and fasting. It is the wiping of the fevered brow in the hospital room. It is the signing of the final adoption papers for a child who has suffered physical violence. It is the force of adoption to presume the wounded can be made whole-by prayer, fasting, a new name written in ink on a document that says FAMILY. A belief that says that same name will be written in the Lamb’s book of life. The HOPE that a temporal family on the earth will lead to an eternal family in heaven. That is seizing the kingdom.
Adoptive parents march into the rubble of violence and in a quiet act of zeal, an indeterminate amount of paper work, a gut-wrenching, soul-bearing home study, fund raising, selling off worldly goods, ten plus hour flights with more cramped travel time on the ground to arrive at orphanages that reek of lack, to meet children orphaned by violence of another sort. These parents step in and audaciously proclaim, “I’m tearing down the old wall and building my family on the freedom offered through Christ.” Just as John the Baptist proclaimed, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand, repent and be baptized.”
“Some masterpieces hang on a wall. Others knock walls down”- Kubota
These parents press on, taking by force- the force that endures the fruit of physical violence, stealing, lying, depression and detachment. They do not give up. They are the adoption force.
Linking up with these lovely ladies today!