By Beth Demme
When I talk with my children about adoption, I ground everything in that precious four-letter word, L‑O‑V‑E. I think #NationalAdoptionMonth is a great time to explore what it means to Live Loved.
When my children were toddlers, they learned their adoption story as part of their bedtime routine. I would tell them:
Once upon a time a husband and a wife loved each other very much.
They had so much love they wanted to share it with a baby.
They knew their family was missing someone.
They prayed to God and asked God what to do.
God said, “Your baby is waiting for you in Russia!”
The husband and wife said, “Wow! We’ve never been there.”
They got on one airplane and then another, and then another and they flew, flew, flew all the way to Russia.
Oh boy, were their arms tired!
Kind people in Russia helped them find the little one who had been waiting for them.
Do you know who that little one was? It was Y-O-U!
When Daddy and I saw you, we were so glad you had waited for us.
We knew we were meant to be a family.
Every single day for the rest of forever we will love you!
I know this story oversimplifies a lot of complicated details, but it communicates the essential truth that our adoption journey was about love.
My husband and I chose to adopt our children out of a desire to share our love. Is it possible that our desire to share love mirrors, in some small way, God’s motivation for creating humanity?
What if that desire to share love mirrors, in some small way, God’s motivation for creating you? Would that change how you think about God?
In the Old Testament, God tells the Israelites, “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.” (Exodus 6:7) This is reiterated in Isaiah: “I have chosen you and not cast you off; do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:9-10) In the New Testament we are told that God destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:23, 9:4.)
Like an adopted parent chooses a child, God chose you. You can live like a person who is deeply loved, because you are deeply loved.
Frederick Buechner explains it beautifully:
We are above all things loved – that is the good news of the gospel – and loved not just the way we turn up on Sundays in our best clothes and on our best behavior and with our best feet forward, but loved as we alone know ourselves to be, the weakest and shabbiest of what we are along with the strongest and gladdest.
The relationship between God and humanity is based in love. Although the ancient Greeks had four words to describe love (phileo, eros, storge, and agape), “the word used to describe the essence and foundation of God’s love is agape. Unlike the other three words, this quality of love is based in the lover, not in the one being loved.” (Steve Harper)
God doesn’t love you and me because of what he can get from us. This can be hard for us to understand because we often love God for what we can get from him (peace, security, help in time of need, future hope, etc.). God’s love for us is different.
In Psalm 50, God reminds the Israelites he doesn’t need anything from humanity: “Every wild animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and all that is in it is mine.” (Psalm 50:10-12)
Since God doesn’t need anything from us, we have tremendous freedom. We don’t need to search for a way to earn God’s love and we shouldn’t huddle in a corner afraid God will strike us down. “Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” Henri J.M. Nouwen
God says, “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” (John 14:18 (NRSV))
Living loved means living like you’ve been pulled (adopted) into the most amazing family ever, because you have.
You can live as if you are surrounded by parents, siblings, cousins, and more who think you are THE BEST, because you are, in fact, surrounded by a group like that and God is at the center of it.
Living loved means embracing this one truth: God loves you.
Do you feel like God loves you? Does adoption reflect your relationship with God in some way? Do you sometimes love God for what you can get from him? Do you believe you are Beloved? Tell me about it in the comments, via e-mail, or on Facebook.
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