It’s a big deal because our problem—the human problem–is alienation from God. Since our eviction from the garden paradise, and our banishment from the Presence of God, we suffer the aching loneliness of our cosmic homelessness.
We wander the earth as aliens and strangers—Fatherless.
But God never intended to leave us as orphans. Before time began, He made arrangements for our adoption. By trusting His Beloved Son, God restores our broken relationship, and adopts us into His household as His true sons and daughters. Our adoption opens up the way for us to relate to God intimately and continually. We now address God in familial terms as our “Father” because the very Spirit of His Son resides within us.
So why do we still live like orphans?
In short, we haven’t completely adopted our own adoption. We believe it sometimes, partially, and to a degree. But we don’t fully enter into the experiential reality.
It can seem just too good to be true.
I mean, we can picture God signing the adoption papers and filing the official paperwork. But we have trouble imagining Him excited about embracing us as His own child. We can see Him offering us a cot in the spare room, and giving us access to the refrigerator. But we’re shocked when He says, “All I have is yours!” We’re thankful that He lets us hang around, but are surprised that He would thoroughly enjoy sitting down with us at the family table. It’s the expression of God’s heart toward us that really throws us. His emotional attachment to us is so unexpected.
He’s really fond of me?
He has a warm affection for me?
He takes pleasure in me?
He is delighted with me?
He really enjoys my company?
He rejoices over me, even sings over me?
Yes! Believe it.
Jesus shocked His hearers with the image of a father welcoming his prodigal son back home with embraces, kisses, gifts and a celebratory feast. This picture of God still surprises us. No wonder Henry Nouwen used to stare for hours at Rembrandt’s painting of the prodigal’s return, meditating on the staggeringly beautiful reality of our Father’s love.
Sometimes I think I need to stare at Rembrandt’s painting for a while. I need to meditate on the truth of my own adoption until the reality starts to sink in.
How about you?