Adopting Our Adoption

DAVE_PRAYOur spiritual adoption is a really big deal.

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.

You mean:

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?

7 thoughts on “Adopting Our Adoption

  1. Dave, I love this. As an adoptive mother, I have one child who sometimes struggles with the fact he’s adopted. He loves us, he is a part of the family and is comfortable with that—we’re all he’s ever known. But, every now and then, he struggles. We provide all he needs and some of what he wants and lavish our love on him, even when he back talks, disobeys and is disrespectful.

    Even more, God lavishes His love on us. And I’m amazed. I need to embrace the fact that God loves me as a Father. Even more than that, He likes me too. Even when I’m arguing with Him, disobeying and disrespectful.

    Go figure. 🙂

    • Jeanne, thank you so much for sharing your perspective as an adoptive parent and for providing your good analogy. “Lavish” is the right word for how God loves.
      Even more than that, He likes me too. Even when I’m arguing with Him, disobeying and disrespectful.
      Yes! Your comments have got me thinking (They always do). IF it’s easier for us to think that God loves us than it is to think that He likes us, then we don’t know much about the love of God.
      Thanks, Jeanne!

  2. When we adopt a new dog, we welcome him or her with delight, and so do the other dogs. It’s a joyous experience…and a humbling one, because I believe that each new adoptee realizes, more than we know, just what Hell has been narrowly escaped.

    I think that may be at the root of our human ‘reluctance’ or doubt at being adopted by God…that we’re afraid it will somehow be taken from us. We do lack the simplicity of dogs!

    Part of it may be cultural and ‘media’ driven. We’ve all read books and seen movies in which the protagonist ‘has it all’, only to lose it through caprice or subterfuge. It sets up a subconscious feeling that we should never be quite comfortable with a good situation.

    • I think you’re really on to something with your observations. Both art and life can make us suspicious. What’s the catch? When will it end? As you put it, when will everything we think we have be taken away from us?
      Thank you for sharing your delight in receiving newly adopted dogs into your care. It sounds like we need some of that canine confidence in our blessed change of fortunes. Let’s embrace the truth that it is our Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom, and believe that we will receive all the riches of our full inheritance Thanks, Andrew!

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