“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (John 1:12)
I saw a picture the other day of a child posing next to a hand written sign that read “For 806 days I have shared their Love+Home…as of today I share their last name.”
It’s hard for me to imagine what it must be like to go from living in the foster care system, with all of its tensions and uncertainty, to being adopted into a loving family as its newest member.
What a transformative and life changing experience!!
Gone are the days of wondering if your current family will be just another temporary place to live as you move from home to home. Gone are relationship ties that are built and then necessarily broken time and again. Gone are the needs for emotional walls of protection and the deep insecurities that develop which will no doubt have life lasting impacts.
On a personal note, I’m grateful to have lived out my childhood in the context of my birth family. In that setting I always knew how much I was loved and supported. As a child I knew that no matter what happened my parents would always love me. I grew up with siblings that to this day I am close to. We can count on each other in good times and bad.
Despite such a stable upbringing, I eventually came to realize that my wonderful earthly family was a temporary one and would not last forever. I sensed an absence in my life that I ultimately identified as spiritual in nature. Although everything around me seemed fulfilled in my life, there was this last nagging piece in my heart that had yet to be satisfied. At some point I realized that the missing element was my relationship with God.
Having grown up around the scriptures, I knew that the Bible spoke of being “children of God.” How could that be? I was already a child of my parents, what more would I need?
I remembered that the scriptures shared a story of another person that was also struggling with this concept. He was a religious leader in his day, a man by the name of Nicodemus. One night he secretly met with Jesus in the dead of night and asked him about his relationship with God. I was amazed, here was a devoted religious leader, an educated and intelligent person by any standards. Yet he knew the moment he had encountered Jesus that his life was in some way incomplete.
Jesus shared with him that in order for Nicodemus to have a relationship with God that he would need to be “born again.” Nicodemus didn’t understand at first, as he was already born, how could he be born once more? Jesus explained to him that it was one thing to be born to an earthly family, but entirely a different matter to be born into God’s family.
As I recalled that story from the Bible, I realized that while I might have an early family that loved me, from a spiritual perspective I was really an orphan. I was in need of adoption. The emptiness I sensed was my lack of relationship with God. The reality was simple: unless I was adopted into God’s family I would spend eternity alone and have to face life by myself.
The apostle Paul shared that making a personal decision to trust in Jesus Christ would allow me to be formally adopted into God’s eternal family. He shared that “in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.”( Galatians 3:26 ) He went on to say that we would “receive adoption” (Galatians 4:5 ) into God’s family and that as His child I would no longer have to live out my life in fear or uncertainty of the future. In fact I would become “co-heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:17) Wow!!!
As an adopted child of God I knew for certain that no matter what might befall me in this life, even physical death, nothing in all of creation would ever separate me from the love of God. (Romans 8:39 )
It’s a key milestone in our lives when we figure out that life is much better as a member of God’s family than by going it alone. Many choose otherwise and suffer great loneliness and lack of direction in their lives.
Good healthy families care about one another and seek to build each other up, desiring to see each member of their family succeed in this life. That’s the way it is in God’s family. Our Heavenly Father is perfect and He only wants the best for each of us. He will never let us down, even when we might think He has, He hasn’t.
If you’re awaiting adoption…you need wait no longer, the choice to surrender your life to Christ and become part of His family is entirely yours. God is present and awaits your decision, but He will never force your hand. Yours is a response to the love He has already demonstrated to you through His Son Jesus Christ.