Our church, Zionsville Fellowship, has started an amazing ministry that cares for orphans. The ministry is based on James 1:27 which says, "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.”
This ministry offers people a variety of opportunities to help orphans whether it is through prayer, financial support or resources for those seeking to adopt. We are truly blessed to serve in this capacity. It has become especially poignant to us right now as we are in the middle of our adoption process.
One resource made available to us is a book by Russell Moore called Adopted for Life. The book explores the priority of adoption for Christian families and churches. I believe it is time for the church to recognize it is the only institution large enough – and the only institution called to deal with this issue.
Beyond that, the book explores adoption between our Heavenly Father and us as His adopted sons and daughters. Let me share a bit of the book with you in the hope that it will bring you great encouragement.
"Imagine for a moment that you're adopting a child. As you meet with the social worker in the last stage of the process, you're told that this twelve-year-old has been in and out of psychotherapy since he was three. He persists in burning things and attempting repeatedly to skin kittens alive. He 'acts out sexually', the social worker says, although she doesn't really fill you in what that means. She continues with a little family history. The boy's father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather all had histories of violence, ranging from spousal abuse to serial murder. Each of them ended life the same way, death by suicide - each found hanging from a rope of blankets in his respective prison cell.
Think for a minute. Would you want this child? If you did adopt him, wouldn't you keep your eye on him as he played with your other children? Would you watch him nervously as he looks at the butcher knife on the table? Would you leave the room as he watched a movie on television with your daughter, with the lights out?
Well, he's you. And he's me. That's what the gospel is telling us. Our birth father has fangs. And left to ourselves, we'll show ourselves to be the serpentine as he is.
But the New Testament addresses former Satan-imagers with good news. It's not just that we have a stay of execution, a suspension of doom. It's not simply that those who trust in Christ have found a refuge, a safe place, or a foster home. All those in Christ, Paul urges, have received sonship. We are now 'Abraham's offspring' (Gal. 3:29). Within this household... all those who are in Christ have found a home through the adopting power of God.
We are here by the Spirit, not by the exertions of our flesh. We're here by grace.
The promise has dawned, and our identity is now found in him. All of us - whatever our background - have been liberated from the old order (Gal. 4:1-5) and from 'the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear' (Rom. 8:15). We now come before God as sons bearing the very same Spirit as was poured out on the Lord Jesus at the Jordan River, a Spirit through which we cry, 'Abba!'"
Wow! I don't know about you but I get a lump in my throat when I read that... and let it sink in. If you are in Christ, never doubt that you are adopted by God. And because God's got some experience in this adoption thing, never doubt that you will not walk this journey alone.
Are you adopted for life?