Mom and dad never called me their adopted son. I was just their son. I was born into an unfortunate situation, but I was adopted into a blessed family. In 1966, adoption was not as highlighted in the American church as it is today.
In the spring of 1998, I was a seminary student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS). I loved everything I was learning in the classroom, but it was during a chapel service that my life was impacted the deepest that semester. The preacher was sharing about the beauty of redemption, and he used legal adoption as a picture of what Christ does for us.
This illustration resonated with me because I couldn’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know I was adopted into my earthly family. My parents never hid my adoption from me, and they were always willing to discuss it and answer questions.
I have a much larger build than my dad, so it seemed odd that I could wear his dress shirts in the fifth grade. As I grew taller, people began to ask questions about our size differences, but in response my mom and dad would joke about giving me fertilizer to help me grow.
Once when a classmate was making fun of me about being adopted, my mom told me to say that I was chosen by my family, but my classmate’s parents were stuck with him. My parents never made it awkward but simply reinforced their love for me and that I was chosen by them to be in our family.
The blessings of being in my earthly family have shown me about the blessings of being in the family of God.
The SEBTS chapel service not only caused me to reflect on my adoption and how incredibly blessed I am but also helped me see in a greater way what Jesus has done for me by adopting me into His family. I realized I had been adopted into a wonderful Christian home.
My parents and grandparents looked for opportunities to teach me about Jesus and His unconditional love for me. They made sure we were faithful members of a local church where we sat under sound, biblical teaching and preaching. We also saw discipleship as an important part of our time together in the home. I learned many biblical principles around our dinner table.
I also knew my parents prayed regularly for me. One of these prayers had a deep impact on my life. It was during a time in college when I was not walking with the Lord. I came home for a weekend and heard my mom praying for me. I walked in her room and saw her on her knees crying out to God for me. That impacted me more than she would ever know.
The blessings of being in my earthly family have shown me about the blessings of being in the family of God and part of a local church family. I was accepted and loved despite my inadequacies and failures just as Jesus does for His children.
As I reflect on my life, I know God had His hand on me at birth. In all of our lives, we are born into sin that separates us from God, but through repentance and faith, He adopts us into His family for eternity. It is through all this that we can all see the beauty of adoption.