Of Love and Adoption

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.

In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.”

Ephesians 1:3-6

Dave and Stacey (friends of ours) recently adopted a little girl from China.   For many months now, we have had the privilege of praying for them as they have sought the Lord’s will for their family, completed all the paperwork, and waited patiently for the time to come when they would make the trip to China, meet two-year-old little Anna for the first time, and bring her home as their daughter.  When the time arrived, friends and family were kept up-to-date through a blog set up to chronicle their 17-day trip.  We read of their first meeting:

"We arrived to a very crowded building and they brought Anna in.  As soon as they said her name, she started screaming and arching her back-she clearly understood part of what was happening.  I picked her up and she continued to scream louder and smack me with her sunglasses several times…   She refused to eat anything…  She’s also refused drinking anything…  So much for a 2 year old to comprehend-it’s heart breaking to see how hard it is on her and how she clings to a cheap pair of sunglasses-it’s all she has now…   Oh what love God has given us for her-she is beautiful in our eyes.  I am anticipating the day when we can calm her tears and fears, but that will take time.  For now, we comfort and hold her and try to show her we love her as much as we can.”

We read of their days of getting to know one another:

"Today we went to a local park…  She ran and ran.  The problem is that she thinks it’s funny to run away from us…  She is learning not to hit even though she means it to be funny.  Also we got a kiss on the cheek today…  Grossest moment of the day was this afternoon-we went to get her passport processed at the Police Department.  She thought it was funny to run and grab and then, gulp, eat those little white pebbles that sit on top of the cigarette discarder.  She is not a picky eater by any means.”

We read of the culmination of all their plans and prayers:

"It’s official-Anna is (our daughter)…We will receive Anna’s visa in a sealed envelope tomorrow.  Then, she will be a US citizen when the plane touches US soil.”

In many very powerful ways, Anna’s adoption is a picture of God’s adoption of us.  This became even more clear to me as I made a list of all the ways Dave and Stacey set their love on a little girl that didn’t even know them.

  • They chose her before she ever knew them
  • They pursued her (adoption papers, forms, airline tickets)
  • They prayed for her (physical needs and spiritual needs)
  • They planned for her, preparing not only for her adoption, but also her arrival in their home
  • They waited eagerly for the time of her adoption
  • They thought about her (wondering what her little toes and hands looked like, anticipating her first smile)
  • They made known their love for her
  • They wrote letters to her, even before they had met
  • They sacrificed for her: Money, Time, Personal comfort (Dave does not enjoy flying!)
  • They anticipated and lovingly bore her anger and abuse (hitting, screaming, kicking, crying)
  • They were patient with her (long-suffering)
  • They fully committed to her (entering into a forever commitment)
  • They visited the orphanage where she had stayed and the place where she was abandoned (helping them to know, understand and sympathize with her)
  • They desired for her to know them (time with her, pictures and videos from other family members)
  • They provided her with earthly comforts (a bed, shelter, food, clothing)
  • They gave her gifts (a new hat, new pajamas)
  • They helped her feel secure (carrying, rocking and holding her)
  • They provided things to give her joy…and delighted in her smiles and laughter
  • They experienced life together (Dave and Stacey never leaving her, always watching over her, as they explored the world together)
  • They desired to communicate with her (teaching her new words, listening to her sing in her own language, telling and showing her about the greatest love:  the love of God in Christ)
  • They took care of her physical health (medical appointments, caring for her when she was sick)
  • They kept her safe (pursuing her when she ran away from them, warning her of danger, keeping her from eating foul things)
  • Their heart experienced great joy when she made known her love for them (by way of kisses and smiles)
  • They acted on her behalf, giving her a future and a hope (a future which she did not have and had no way of attaining)
  • They were willing to cause her temporal and temporary pain in order to give her future happiness and security
  • They recorded her tears (hating to distress her, but willing to do so for her good)
  • They sealed the adoption (making it official, legal and binding)
  • They welcomed her into their home
  • They gave her an inheritance (which she will only slowly begin to know and appreciate)
  • They involved others in her adoption (particularly in praying for her)
  • They openly loved and appreciated each other (giving a solid foundation for the family)
  • They continually intercede for her before the throne of God

The point is this:  As astounding as it is, the love parents display in adopting a child is but a small illustration of the amazing love God displays in adopting us as His children.  Anna is not yet in a position to give thanks for the abundant love that has been shown to her.  We are.


Meditations on the Preciousness of Christ

When we speak of something as being “precious” we usually mean that it is very dear to our heart, and thus, greatly loved or treasured.  It is something that has great value to us…something which we are careful not to waste, ignore or treat carelessly.

“Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious…”

- 1 Peter 2:7

For each of us, the Christmas season is a good time to pause and ask:Is Christ precious to me?  How do I know?  What evidence do I have that He istruly precious to my heart?   Do I ever regard or treat Him as less than precious?In the book entitled The Precious Things of God, Octavius Winslow provides many wonderful meditations on the preciousness of Christ.   I would like to share a few of his thoughts with you over the month of December.  It is my hope that these meditations will result in a more passionate love for Christ, in an increased joy as we celebrate His birth, and in a greater anticipation of His next advent!

Meditation #1 on the preciousness of Christ:

But to whom is Christ precious?  This is a most important question.  He is not so to all.  It is a privileged class, a peculiar people, a little flock,few and scattered, hidden and unknown, who feel the Saviour’s preciousness.  Only to the believer is Christ precious…

-Octavius Winslow

Meditation #2 on the preciousness of Christ:

How precious, then, is our Lord Jesus as ‘bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.’  Think of His perfect humanity–

a humanity free from sin, and therefore capable of dying for the ungodly,–

a humanity laden with sorrow, and therefore capable of sympathizing with the afflicted.

 Precious to our hearts as God–precious as Man–

precious as both united in one–

inconceivably and eternally precious is He,

whose name is ‘Wonderful,’ to His believing saints.

-Octavius Winslow

May your heart be moved by gratitude and love as you ponder meditation #3 on the preciousness of Christ:

“In the hour of adversity, of trial, of sorrow, oh, how precious is Christ in the experience of the believer!

It would seem, beloved, as though we had never really known Him until then. Certainly, we never knew from experience that there was so much that was human, tender, and compassionate in His heart until sorrow touched our own…

Precious humanity!  that bears each burden, that is touched with each infirmity, that soothes each sorrow, and that succors each temptation of His people.”

-Octavius Winslow

Meditation #4 on the preciousness of Christ:

 “Who, then, is the Lord Jesus Christ?  In common parlance, men term Him, ‘our Saviour.’  But do the great body pause and reflect who Christ really is?  Do they regard Him and the CREATOR of this world–of all worlds?  of their being–of all beings?  Do they consider that ‘all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made?’
But what a grand and glorious truth is this to the believing soul–the absolute deity of the Saviour–the essential Godhead of Christ!
Precious in His Deity–
Precious as ‘God over all, blessed for evermore.’
-Octavius Winslow