God’s word to his children: “It was worth the suffering”

December 28, 2015

I’ll post my full sermon manuscript later, but this excerpt from yesterday’s sermon can serve as a devotional on God’s great love for his adopted sons and daughters. I was preaching on John 1:1-18.

Finally, this passage also speaks of the Word-made-flesh giving us the “right to become children of God”; we are adopted into God’s family as his children.

This really speaks to me because I was adopted. This created some turmoil in my life when I was young. So to make me feel better about the fact that I was different from most of my friends and classmates, my parents used to tell me that, unlike so many other babies, who are simply born into a family—whose parents don’t have a choice and are just sort of stuck with them—I was extra special… Because my parents chose me. They weren’t just stuck with whoever they got; they chose me.

And that sounds great and all, but even as eight- or nine-year-old kid, I didn’t quite believe that, you know—my parents showed up one day at Grady Hospital and the nurses in the maternity ward wheeled out a bunch of babies in bassinets, and my parents said, “We’ll take that one.” Even as a child, I didn’t figure they had much choice in the matter. They would take whoever the adoption agency gave them.

But now that I’ve been a parent for a while, I see the deeper truth in their words: they did choose me. They already had two kids, after all. They were going into this with eyes wide open. They already knew how risky, and difficult, and costly, and worrisome that I or any other child could possibly be; they knew that they would have to sacrifice themselves again and again for the sake of their adopted child; they knew they would have to suffer for this child—for years. So when they adopted me, they willingly chose all of that—whether they chose me personally or not.

Now I know I’m making parenting seem like a terrible ordeal, but not so fast: You see, if you had asked either of my parents before they died, “Was it worth it? Was it worth all the trouble, all the pain, all the worry, all the sacrifice, all the humiliation, all the heartbreak, all the disappointment, all the expense, all the time, all the suffering that Brent caused you in order for your to rescue him and give him a home and give him a family and give him unconditional love? If you asked them that, what would my parents say? They would have been indignant at the question! “Was it worth all the suffering… to adopt Brent, to make him part of our family? Absolutely it was! And we’d suffer it over and over and over again if we had to—for the sake of our love for our son!”

And this is what God’s Word, the Word-become-flesh, is saying to us, his adopted sons and daughters, this morning and for all eternity: Let me prove how much I love you. Let me show you.

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