In telling about his harrowing journey to Ethiopia to adopt four children, Motte Brown talks about the challenges (that's putting it mildly) that he, and his wife Beth, encountered along the way. The details brought tears to my eyes as I imagined what it must have been like to endure everything from lost luggage, to formula and diaper shortages, to the near death of one of their nine-month-old twins. But as bad as all those visible hardships were, what really struck me about the 3-part-post was the trauma of the invisible:
With the benefit of hindsight, I now know I was too cavalier about the "Are you ready?" question. I expected it to be painful. But not so much that we would question the very decision we made to adopt. That is where we were. And that is exactly where I believe Satan planned for us to be. John Piper has a sermon on the power God allows Satan in this world.
The fact that Satan has such power in the world should give a kind of seriousness to our lives which unbelievers don't have. It ought not to make us paranoid or fearful, but sober and earnest in our prayers and persistently conscious of needing God's power. When the enemy is supernatural, so must the weapons be.
The enemy was undoubtedly not happy about a loving Christian family saving the lives of four children, both physically, and by God's grace, spiritually. They saved them through adoption. But aren't Christian couples who conceive and bear children and then, according to Ephesians 6, bring them up in the training of the Lord doing the same thing? When believers conceive new life and plan to become parents for God's glory, they are no less in need of spiritual protection than the Browns were in Ethiopia.
Whether you're thinking about starting your family, already pregnant with your first baby, or like us, in the midst of raising your kids already born, it's important to follow Paul's urging, later in that same chapter in Ephesians, to:
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-18)