Just some thoughts that I'm processing:
I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that our life the past two years hasn't been easy. I joke that we are on a six month rotation of disappointment, although it isn't really funny.
Our first robbery happened in May of 2009. It was hard because it took away our sense of security and made us feel vulnerable in a way we hadn't before.
In December of 2009 we encountered what I like to call the "big robbery." This one hurt in ways that I still have not recovered from, and I'm not sure that I ever will. It occurred in the middle of the day and obviously took all day because they just helped themselves to everything of value in our home. For a while I was scared to come home by myself, scared to leave the house alone, I was just wounded. One positive result of this particular situation is that I now am more careful about what we "need" because it is all temporary and not just in a super spiritual "you can't take it with you" kind of way.
Continuing on with the regular rotation, we were broken into again in August of 2010. This one I like to think of as God showing off. You see, I had really been reading a lot about spiritual warfare around that time. The best part of this story is that we were broken into, but nothing was taken, even though one of our friend's laptop computer was a few feet from the window that was compromised. I think that through this one Satan meant to discourage us (and it sort of worked), but we felt protected by something (or Someone) greater than our alarm system. This happened right around the time when were were beginning the application process for adoption and were just starting to talk with people about it.
Now I know this is crazy, but just last month I realized that it had been about 6 months since our last 'disappointment.' I actually began to get nervous. I began to notice myself being more careful about leaving our valuables in plain sight and leaving the lights on in the back yard.
So when all of the stuff happened with the adoption last weekend, I was upset, but in the midst of my tears I kind of thought, "Well, we were due for something like this." I have come to expect for things to not come easy for us. Whether it is the 'perfect' job that I have to leave because I just can't support it anymore, or the negative pregnancy tests among all of the excited phone calls of my expectant friends (we were adopting anyway), or getting robbed again, when we are not the only intentional neighbors around here; I have come to expect disappointment.
This is starting to sound like a pity party, which was not my intention, so let me get to the point/question.
Lately I've been thinking about suffering, meaning biblical suffering. On Sunday the sermon was about "The Cost of Discipleship" and in a Bible study I'm in we have been reading through 1 & 2 Peter
1 Peter 4:12-13 "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed."
Van and I have talked recently about our seemingly harder than normal life and we realized that all of these things that bring suffering into our lives (our choice to live in the inner-city, our choice to adopt) are choices we have made because of Christ. We live where we do in an effort to be like Jesus. He loved on the poor, so will we. We are adopting because "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (Obviously each of these are only the beginning of why we made these decisions.)
So, here is the question: Our hardships, are they suffering, or just life? I find it hard to think of these things as suffering for Christ because no one is attacking me or persecuting me because I claim the name of Christ, but I'm beginning to wonder. So, what is the cost of discipleship in the land of the free?