1 John 3:1
By Drew Zuverink
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"
There are levels to saving someone. Just in general, when anyone notices someone in need of rescue, we have options for how much help we are willing to give. For example; just in the state of Michigan there are 10,000 kids who are in foster care. Many of them come from extremely broken homes with parents who should never have been parents in the first place. Because of their trauma it's no surprise that some of the kids decide to join gangs, to get involved with drugs or alcohol, to contemplate suicide or to go on some other self destructive life trajectory.
Now when you or I think about this we probably feel sad or angry, and we might even want to help somehow. Wanting to help them is great! These are kids without a home who have hurts and scars and who are in just an overall terrible situation. The trajectory of their life is destructive and they need to be rescued from that. If you wanted to help rescue them, and to turn their life around, you would have many options to choose from. You could become their mentor. This would include weekly "hang outs" where you could get to know each other better, form a relationship, and then through that you could give them guidance. You could take it a step further and you could become a foster parent. This would mean welcoming them into your home for a while, until hopefully their parents figured some stuff out, and their home became safer. You could also decide to adopt them. This would mean welcoming them into your home, promising to love them even in their faults, and this option is permanent. All of these options are examples of rescuing a child who is in a terrible situation, but there are levels to it.
Imagine yourself as one of those foster kids. Imagine the sadness and the brokenness that you would feel inside. Now let me ask you, which of the above options do you think would provide you with the healing that you would need? One of the most amazing things that the Bible teaches is that God chose the option of adoption. We were all once a bunch of lost children separated from our Heavenly Father. Many of us were pursuing sins that would eventually destroy our lives and all of us were just a few years away from an eternity in hell. God saw humanity and their terrible situation, God knew the dangers that we faced and the emptiness that we felt, and he also knew that we needed to be rescued. God also had options. He could have decided to not step in and help. He really could have just done nothing, and we all would have sinned our way right into hell. He also could have just helped with our self destructive tendencies, but just in this life - meaning, he could have just helped us choose the best path for life by giving us a written guide to live by. God also could have still sent Jesus to rescue us from hell but then left us without a Heavenly Father. But the amazing part is that God didn't choose any of those options but instead he rescued us by adopting us.
God clearly has a heart for orphans. Through his servant James, God says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this, to look after orphans and widows in their distress." One of the reasons that I believe God loves when Christians get involved in foster care and adoption is because it so closely resembles what he did for us on a spiritual level. He did not just save us from hell. He didn't just mentor us into choosing the best path for our time on earth. He rescued us from our terribly sad situation by adopting us into his family and giving us the true healing that we needed. It's true to say that God heals through relationships.
Friends, we did not just need a list of standards to live by so that we could avoid the pitfalls of sin, and we didn't just need to be rescued from the punishment of hell, we needed our Father. All of us were once spiritual orphans struggling with the emptiness we felt inside because our fundamental need of a spiritual father was not being met. Through adoption God met that need and began to heal our brokenness through that loving acceptance. May we all rejoice that we are welcomed, trauma and sins included, and we don't need to be afraid anymore.