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We are the adopted children of God, destined for love

By AL EARLEY

Religion Columnist

We adopted our fourth child from China.  It took us about two years to jump all the hurdles, but when we got her referral picture in the mail it was all worth it. Our whole family went to get her in China.  When the day finally arrived, when we would meet her, we were excited and anxious.  There were some tense moments at first, as Danielle and the other two-year-olds were very uncertain about the situation.  She was pushed into our arms. The other babies scream, she screams. The orphanage workers work to calm the babies.

     First, we give her presents.  She likes those very much. She begins to get comfortable, finally sitting in my wife’s lap.  She throws the stuffed dog, she looks at books, and she loves to eat the cookies. Finally, she sits in my lap.  As I look back on the video tape you can see a dramatic change come over her face at this point.  She is looking around at what is happening, and her face says, “A sister, two brothers, a mother and father. Cool! I can live with this.”

     But, could we learn to love one another. When you begin to think about adoption the biggest question that faces you is, “Can I love that child with the same devotion I would love my natural born children?”  That is because love is a choice, it is more than an emotion. If it were only an emotion, then Jesus couldn’t command us to do it.

     Jesus tells us the two great commandments are, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:38-39).  Imagine commanding us to love God, each other, and ourselves.  We cannot command someone to get angry.  Try it!  Tell someone to get angry right now.  It just doesn’t work.  But love is something we can choose to do or not do. 

    It took me about as long as it did my other children to be absolutely certain this child was a gift to my wife and I from God: the instant I saw her.  Of course, I was falling in love in the months previous, but seeing each child made it real for me.  At that first moment, I chose to love her with all the love I could give her, all the love I had given my other children.  Today, Danielle is a beautiful mature woman of faith.  She has always been a perfect fit in her family.  She was always destined to be our daughter, we just had to welcome her home in a little different way.

     Joseph faced some of the same decisions about 2000 years ago.  His fiancé was pregnant, and he knew it wasn’t his child.  Then in a dream the angel of the Lord said to him, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).”  We don’t have much information about how Joseph did raising his adopted son, but we know he taught Jesus to be a carpenter, and Jesus used those skills throughout his ministry.

     Did you ever think that you have been adopted by God?  We read in Ephesians 1:5, “He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will.”  We have become the children of God by adoption through our faith in Jesus Christ.  God chose to love us long ago.  As God’s children, we must decide whether to love God in return.  This Christmas I invite you to give your life completely to God in love, and enjoy all the wonderful blessings of being a part of God’s family.

What are some specific ways you love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?  From what you know about adoption, what is special about the way God adopts us into His family?  Take some time today to write or say a prayer thanking God for adopting you into His eternal family, and what it means for your life?  May God bless you as you continue your Christmas preparations and celebrations. 

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles see, lagrangepres.com.