You know that feeling you get when you just know God is asking you to do something kinda difficult, and you don't know how or when you'll be able to do it, but the peace you need for the process finally rests in your heart after years of uncertainty? We had that feeling this past Saturday, when we attended a conference called "Together for Adoption."
We didn't mean to go. I mean, E and I have given a little thought to adoption, and always figured that the time would come someday in which we'd need to give it serious consideration, given both the theological and practical reasons for pursuing it. But with no plans or finances or second bedroom to make it happen now, we weren't planning to go to this particular event. Then, three weeks ago, we were asked if Thornfield would be willing to play some background music during the lunch break. Jenna had already been planning to go, and since one of Thornfield's missions is to support mercy ministries, we agreed to play for free, and with it came complimentary tickets to the whole shindig. We were officially going. And what began as a gig ended as a life-altering calling.
|Orphans by Thomas Kennington|
Anyway, What about all this Adoption Business?, you may be wondering. Me too. The first speaker at the conference was Vermon Pierre, who spoke of "The God Who Adopts" from Ephesians 1. Here's part of the Scripture he read:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved... In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
To be honest, these verses, though absolutely overflowing with the superfluously wonderful merits of God's grace, always make me a little nervous when they're about to be preached on. It was while at Moody -- where Calvinism is the presumed doctrine of the educated believer -- that I became suspicious of the word, predestined. To my utmost relief, Pierre didn't once focus on predestination as a calling of "the elect," but explained the word's use as it shows God's very deliberate and intentional purpose from the very beginning of creation to adopt His people. Before the foundation of the world, it says, He chose us, to adopt us, to lavish upon us an inheritance not merely of riches but of His very presence as the Holy Spirit within us.
And yet, He still wants us in the family.
And yet, He planned to use our own violence to provide salvation for us.
What a gospel! What hope! What a good, unbelievably good God!
But notice why He did this, this amazing adoption of the unadoptable, according to Ephesians 1: "that we would be holy and blameless before Him." In other words, that we would be set apart, that we would be conformed to His own image by and through His Son. That we would become more like our Heavenly Dad, extending gracious love like He does, adopting the unadoptable like He does.
And that's why my own thoughts concerning adoption have changed from, "This is something we should really think about, Lord willing," to "This is something we should actually do, and He is." I won't be anyone else's Holy Spirit, of course. He leads us each according to His own will for each. But I've become convinced, not only through this amazing Scriptural concept but also through the callings all Christians are given in James 1, in Zechariah 7, in Proverbs 31, in Isaiah 1, and in countless other verses and chapters and books in God's word, that it is every believer's direct calling to care for the helpless, and in many cases the orphan specifically. What that looks like for each family will be different. What that looks like for our family -- I'm nervous but excited and timid but eager to say -- will hopefully someday be a house overflowing with love for each other, adopted and non-adopted children alike. Because, actually, we're all adopted.
A father of the fatherless ... is God in His holy habitation.