One thing that always amazes me is how whenever any of us set out to do something that we think is solely intended to bless someone else…that we end up being the one that is blessed! I remember when I went to Romania how I thought I was going to minister to the people of Romania. What I learned to my surprise was that I was blessed and ministered to by them so much more than what I could have ever done for them. I actually thought that I was there to offer something…but God humbled me so much to realize that I was there to grow and learn…not to offer anything. I now realize how silly and arrogant it was to even think that.
In setting out on this adoption journey, I also thought this was something we were doing for someone else…for this child…this orphan. I have found recently, however, that I think I was once again mistaken. This weekend, I had a moment where this huge light bulb went off in my head and my heart.
As we have shared with many of you our interesting journey over the latter part of 2009: we spent a lot of time visiting churches, doing research, working on a new church plant, and finding our way to Trinity Baptist. Part of that journey also involved us growing in our understanding of the sovereignty of God, which I must admit was not much to begin with. It has been a difficult journey, but God has steadily been growing us in our understanding. This adoption journey, however, played a part in it that I never expected.
I remember several years ago after becoming a father when the parallel struck me on having children, and me being a child of God. I remember while taking a walk in our neighborhood, it hit me how this child was mine, and how much I loved her, and how there was nothing she could ever do that would cause me to love her less, and how although I could demand obedience, I just wanted her to love me of her own will. It was a beautiful moment that I remember vividly. It was a defining moment, but one that was trumped recently.
What occurred to me recently is while being a father to my firstborn daughter was a beautiful picture, this adoption of Lori is so much more of an amazing parallel. And I didn’t see this coming! It felt like getting smacked in the face with a 2x4.
Lori is a 15 month old little girl living in China without a family. Her parents out of desperation left her as a 6 week old infant in a cardboard box in the yard of the orphanage, helpless and alone. And now, a family on the other side of the world, out of the ‘love’ God has placed in them, has reached out and chosen her with the intention of adopting her as their child and adding her to their family. There is nothing she did to deserve this. She did not earn this…But yet in their ‘grace’ (given solely by God above) they ‘saved’ her from the situation of despair she was in. (See the parallel?)
This is in no way attempting to make us appear to be anything special, because (1) we’re not, and (2) that isn’t the point of this post, but rather it is to draw on the incredible parallel between a family adopting an orphaned child and God adopting us out of his grace and love and saving us from our situation of despair. Like Lori, we did nothing to deserve it. He chose us and adopted us as sons. It has brought the passage from Ephesians into new light for me:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
Born in sin, we were the helpless child left alone in the cardboard box and in need of a Savior. Without doing anything to deserve it or earn it, God in his great love and grace chose me…and adopted me as a son!
As I think about Lori, and how she has no idea of how her life is about to change, how a loving family plans to rescue her and pour love all over her…it makes me smile to think of how God must think about me…how much he must love me…and how grateful and thankful I am that He chose to adopt me and reveal His truth to me!
To come full circle, I am amazed at how this adoption has taught me and grown me so much already. Just when I thought this was something we were doing for someone else…I am blown away again with how God has used something unexpected (in this case, Lori) to minister to me and my family.