The word “adoption” means different things to different people. Hearing that word may bring you great joy or it may cause you deep pain. It may fill you with hope for the future, with regret for the past, or with fear and uncertainty about what’s to come. When I hear the word adoption, I remember a grade school friend and the day that her adoption became official. She was so excited to be a permanent part of the family who loved her so much. I also think of the friends I have who have adopted a child. I think about their stories, no two the same. The adoption process is full of what seems like miles of red tape. It’s a difficult and lengthy process, but for the parents who persist, the rewards are great.
As painful and as beautiful as adoption can be, it affects the child being adopted in profound ways. The child takes on a new name, moves to a new home, meets new relatives, and in some cases learns a new language. In essence, they have an entirely new identity. For many children, this is a difficult thing. Adopted children can struggle with identity and self-worth. Most adoptive parents have thought about adoption for years and they spend months preparing to bring their child home. They chose their child, they want their child, and they love their child so much. That’s what God did for us.
When God adopts us, He also transforms us. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. … Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:1-2, ESV).” God cares about us so much that He will use any means necessary to make us like Christ. That’s the neat thing about God, He doesn’t leave us how He found us. There are times that parents allow their children to go through things that are difficult and painful because they know that in the long run it will be good for them. God does the same thing. He allows us to go through things that refine us. When the refining work is done, God brings us to a place of abundance.
I don’t know about you, but that’s a process I am willing to go through. It’s a process that Erin is willing to go through. In Monday’s blog post Erin wrote “It’s because of my illness that I can now say I am the healthiest I have ever been emotionally and spiritually. God has used my broken body to make me whole.” The same is true in my life. God has allowed me to go through much suffering and even though my body is still broken, God is bringing me to a place of abundance in Him. I can say, with joy, that I am more like Christ today than I was the day I got sick. I can honestly say that, given the opportunity, I wouldn’t change a thing. What I have suffered through the last 4 ½ years has transformed my life. When things are going well, it’s easy to do life in our own strength. When life as we know it falls apart, well that’s another story. We will either love God or leave God. It is my prayer that you love God; that you cling to Him and not let go; that you allow Him to do what is necessary to transform your life.
How many times have we yelled “I hate you” at our parents as we stomped down the hall to our room and slammed the door only to realize later that what they did (or didn’t do) was for our own good? How many times have we done the same thing to God? Just like our parents, He stands there and takes it…and waits for us with open arms until we come running back to Him with tears in our eyes. I don’t know what you are going through today, but God does. Please don’t slam the door in His face. Instead turn around, run into His open arms, and praise Him. Praise Him for all of the ways that He is working in your life. Praise Him for loving you enough to do the difficult work of transforming you. Praise Him for adopting you as His very own, for choosing you, for loving you; because He did, and He does.
"Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of His praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance." ~ Psalm 66:8-12 (ESV)
(c) October 9, 2012