Orphan Sunday

Posted: November 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

I know its not Thursday but I wanted to post a special blog today to remind folks of what this coming Sunday is all about.  This coming Sunday is Orphan Sunday, a day where Christians stand for the orphan. As Christians. we are a people called to defend the fatherless, to care for the child that has no family and to visit orphans in their distress.  Most of you, who know LeAnn and I, know that our hearts are very close to adoption.  After doctors telling us we could not have children and dealing with infertility for over 6 years, and after witnessing first hand the plight of orphans across the world, we chose the incredible adventure of adoption.

When LeAnn and I pursued adopting a child, many personal questions came to surface as we entered into the process. Overall, one of the questions I ask myself simply was, “Does God believe in Adoption! Let me just say the that the answer is “Absolutely”!

Adoption is the means by which all believers enter into the family of God.

 

Romans 8:12-17 (NIV)   Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. [13] For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, [14] because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. [15] For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of (sonship)adoption. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” [16] The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. [17] Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Even though the Bible uses the word “adopt” only about five times, it refers to the concept of adoption surprisingly often. And when it does, the Bible always presents adoption as a positive, gracious act that is part of God’s plan. Moses, for example, was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2:1-10). Interestingly, his adoption, though sad for his Israelite parents, was part of God’s overall plan for the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Esther was also an adoptee. We are told that when her parents died, Mordecai, her cousin, took her as his own daughter and adopted her (Esther 2:15). Interestingly, this adoption also led to a wonderful deliverance of the people of God! And in a way, wasn’t Jesus an adoptee? Joseph, who raised Jesus as his own, was not His biological father. Now, as an adopting parent I learned a great deal from Joseph! This man of God was truly unselfish; he was willing to rearrange his whole life in obedience to God. Joseph gladly accepted Jesus, providing Him with all the love, encouragement, and guidance that a son needs from a father.

But the best and most important biblical adoption story of all is what we have just read in Romans!  This is where Adoption applies to everyone.  There is only one way for us to enter the Kingdom of God — we must become God’s adopted children through Jesus Christ.
The New King James version expresses this relationship beautifully:

Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise and glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:6

Isn’t this incredible? God chooses us to be His adopted children, not because He has to, but because He wants to! In adopting us through Christ, He shows a depth of love unlike any other.

Here’s how I like to look at it….We adopted Olivia, raised her, taught her, and on October 26, 2005 she legally, and officially became ours.  But it was so much more than a legality.  She was our daughter.  We changed her diapers, nourished her, we watched as she took her first steps and has never stopped since, we smiled when she said her first words, we continue to laugh as she does what she does, we punish her when she goes astray, and we teach her and nurture her in order for her to grow up to be a godly young lady. As a part of our family, she is protected, loved, taught, and is an heir of the Simmerman name just as her three brothers are.  She also comes under the discipline of LeAnn and myself as her parents.  We will always be her parents!  We don’t look at her as different because she is adopted…she is simply our child along with her three brothers. When our family suffers, she will suffer, when our family rejoices, she will rejoice.  We even expect here to have the same responsibilities as her brothers in our family.

In the same way God accepts us as His children.  He adopts us into His family, and makes us partakers of all the blessings he has provided for us, He provides protection, nuture, and love, He also gives us fatherly discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11),

Hebrews 12:5-10 (NIV) 

    And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:  “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,  and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, [6] because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” [7] Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? [8] If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. [9] Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! [10] Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.

One truth that LeAnn and I learned is that adoption is not second best. It is simply one way that God in His wisdom can choose for us to be parents. Whether one becomes a parent biologically or through adoption, the fact is that children are not a right — they are a gift from God:

Children are a heritage from the Lord.
Psalm 127:3 (NIV) Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.

On this upcoming Orphan Sunday, think about what you can do about the plight of orphans across the world.  Of all the people God could have chosen for us to take care of, He chose the widows and the orphans. As Christians, we were once orphans adopted into God’s family and we should take this charge seriously.  Think about Foster care, think about adoption, think about supporting local adoption agency’s such as Bethany Christian Services…do your part!

 

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