Devotional: Applying the Bible to my today.
Read: Romans 8:15-39
(Note: This story is shared with permission from our son.)
There is no video of when we met Hyun for the first time, you know, those heartwarming adoption custody videos where you get to witness the first hugs and tears of joy. We had a scheduled time and place in which we were to meet him and his foster mom, but instead we unexpectedly ran into them on the streets. Though we recognized him instantly, it took Hyun a moment to process who we were. He had seen many pictures and videos of us and been told he would be coming to live with us soon. I gently approached him and stooped down to eye level. This was it - the moment where we were to begin our forever family! Then... "Ptuh! Ptuh!" He began spitting on me... multiple times! He was so scared and had already begun to grieve over the changes ahead.
When reading the adoption story in Romans 8, it's easy to drift by the totality of it. Just like when we watch the sweet adoption videos, we jump right to the happily ever after leaving out the grief, trauma and fears of the one being adopted. We sometimes believe telling an adoptee that they were "chosen" erases all their past and makes the new parent/child relationship peachy. The things we experienced before our adoption have an impact on the post-adoption journey. We experienced the failures of our "birth parents" which may lead us to mistrust our adoptive Father, we've seen things that are horrible causing us to question whether things can actually be good, and we've even done not-so-great things which we try to hide in shame. These things can lead us to behave out of fear or pride.
But, wait, remember how special we are because we were "chosen"?!? Well, yes, but there is an incredible amount of pressure to live up to whatever "specialness" was assumed of us before our adoption because, I mean, how great must God think we are to sacrifice everything for us? What happens when we fall short over and over? How long before He washes His hands of us?
God's adoption of us is amazing, but there is a whole imperfect journey before we get to the happily ever after. While adoptive parents may know aspects of their child's history, they don't really KNOW it, which can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations. When God chose us, He knew exactly what He was getting into - He created us; He knows our past, present and future. He knew exactly how many times we would run into His arms and call Him by name, only to turn around and spit on Him over and over. With God, there are no secrets and no wrongful expectations... whether you were completely spectacular and perfect or if you were totally messed up, He knew it all. Even after we have come into His family, He is aware of every rule we haven't followed but also the depth of our continued brokenness. There's no reason for a façade, we only need to come as we are because He anticipated "us" - the "us" that includes all those things.
With God's adoption, we have total power over the choice to accept or decline the adoption. There is something that comes along with being adopted by a God in which we have total transparency and the option to accept or decline - it's called complete freedom. He doesn't even make us wait until heaven to receive the inheritance. The inheritance comes now - strength, endurance, grace, interceding of the Holy Spirit and love that allows us to overwhelmingly conquer anything that comes against us. He is hope for our past, present and future.
So let's put our rose colored glasses away. Every day of our adopted life doesn't have to be perfect in order for it to be authentic and beautiful. There is room to wrestle with our new identity in Christ, our past, the temptations, the questions/misunderstandings, EVERTHING. Every time we lean heavily into Him for these things, crying out "Abba! Father!", we will grow in confidence that we are no longer a slave to fear and we will forever be children of the one true God.