Story of Adoption
“I would never have been able to understand God’s love for me as his daughter if we had not had adopted younger brothers and sister in my family. God has made my life more filled with love and expanded our hearts. I don’t remember what it was like before they were here.” These are the words from my 18 year-old daughter, Samantha, back when she was 15 and writing a paper for school describing how God has worked in her life and heart. I don’t know about you, but when my children were younger, I would pray for them to have and understand God’s heart for others in this broken world.
November 13 was Orphan Sunday, which always gives me mixed emotions. I’m grateful that churches have an opportunity to highlight the great need to care for the thousands of orphans in America, but I am sad that many see this as a time to feel pity for these precious ones whom God loves. The ones he created in their mother’s wombs and who have the same hopes, dreams and potential as any of us. Often, as a society, we have placed a special stigma on foster children or those needing adoption or who have been adopted – “oh, you were adopted!!”
A Father to the Fatherless
However, the truth is that the story of adoption is the story of broken relationships and the hope of the Gospel. In reality, we’re all orphans separated from the Father but rescued and restored by the blood of Jesus. Every one one of us, had God not intervened on our behalf, would be without relationship with the one who knit us together. The story of the orphan is our story too.
“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:12-17
At City Central, our vision is to adore God, become like Jesus and contend for the Kingdom. Becoming like Jesus is a driving force for us corporately, and should be for each of us individually. This individual journey begins with our understanding of God’s love for us as his son or daughter. When we receive, understand, and live out his love we become like Him. We, the church, are designed to draw others to Jesus and demonstrate and extend the love in a broken world. You and I were designed to LIVE the love of the Father, and we can only do this when we understand His love personally. It’s an unconditional and ever pursuing love that transcends your circumstances and transforms your heart. We extend life and love to others only to the degree with which we receive and accept his love in our lives individually.
Orphan Sunday for me highlights more than just the need to care for “those,” it is a reminder of his great love for me as his son. How about you? Have you fully accepted and received the love of the Father for yourself? Here are a few of the verses of God’s love for the fatherless – and by extension, as those who want to become like Jesus, for us. I have also included some challenge questions for reflection from my friend Jeff Clare.
Psalm 68:5-6 “A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing”
Psalm 27:10 “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me”
Psalm 10:14 “But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless”
How do you see God acting as Father to the “fatherless “ in your own life?
Deuteronomy 10:18 “He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing”
Isaiah 30:18 “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him”
Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”
In your life, what would it look like if you demonstrated a greater degree of “doing justice, mercy and walking humbly”?
Blessings friends, Darrin Miller