It's that time of night that if you're a parent of young children, and you're honest enough to admit it, you've been looking forward to since mid afternoon. The house is finally quiet. All the kids are tucked away in their beds and the seemingly incessant 'mommy, mommy, mommys' or 'daddy, daddy, daddys' have ended. The stories have been read. The prayers have been led. All the special requests have been granted. Ahhh, rest. Reflecting on this day, a day remembered in churches around the nation as 'Orphan Sunday' no less, I find it hard to believe that it's been more than two years since our family of 5 became a family of 7 and we tucked Jayce and Nyah into bed for the first time. I say hard to believe because the memory of those first nights are still fresh. They seemed to last forever. You can read the books, take the required courses, and seek advice from seasoned veterans, but nothing fully prepares you for the adjustment that follows adoption. Although I've experienced some of the difficulties faced by adoptive parents, I can only imagine how difficult it was on the little ones we brought home. Before we even laid eyes on them, their little lives had been scarred by abandonment and rejection. And now, here they were, in a strange place with strange people, having been carried way once again by unfamiliar arms, to an unfamiliar world filled with unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells. We learned quickly that those seemingly innate responses we took for granted with our first three children, such as trust, security, and a sense of belonging, were learned. How do you trust a stranger? How do you feel safe in a place so foreign? How do you belong when you've never truly belonged before? You don't. At least in the beginning. In the dark, you cry out for familiarity. In the light, you hold onto everyone and everything you see. You eat every meal as if it were your last and hold onto every truck or doll as if it were the only one. You bask in the attention you're receiving while doing all you can to earn the love of your new hosts.
If we identify ourselves with Christ, we've been adopted as children of God. As such, we too were once orphans. Once abandoned and rejected by this world, we now sit at The King's table with full rights to an inheritance far greater than this world could ever imagine. If only I would grasp what I claim to be true. Like an adopted child adjusting to my new home, I often find myself acting out testing the boundaries of my Father's love, fiercely clutching to every possession as if it’s the only thing that matters, and desperately trying to earn a love that I've convinced myself that I don't deserve. If only we could get past that adjustment period. If we could just trust the One who is True. If we could rest safe in the arms of the one who holds the universe in His hands. If we could accept our place at the table of God's abounding grace. If only we would stop living as orphans we could echo Paul, as confident children of God,
"When we trust in him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go. So don’t let my present trouble on your behalf get you down. Be proud! My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit-not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength - that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God."
Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ. For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love. He did this by predestining us to adoption as his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will – to the praise of the glory of his grace that he has freely bestowed on us in his dearly loved Son. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us in all wisdom and insight. -- Eph 1:3-8