Welcome back to my series “Ten Reasons NOT to Adopt or Bring New Converts into the Church”. If you are just joining me, the series starts here. Adoption is a calling, a ministry of reconciliation. So is inviting new family members into the church by sharing the gospel. Each of these is a process. Neither of them happens in our timing or according to our man-made goals. We live in the age of NOW. With a single swipe on our phone, we can hit apps for directions, dinner, medical advice and news. We like instant. It suits our driven lives. God is not into instant. He is into doing things the right way no matter how long it takes. Forty years in the desert? Four hundred years in slavery? Seven cycles of judgment? Seventy years of captivity in Babylon?
“For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” Jeremiah 29:11
Then a promise of reconciliation. Rescue. Peace. Hope in your final outcome. His time. His ways. On to number 5!
5. It might take a long time.
There are no drive thru adoptions. Putting a forever family together takes time. If you don’t like things to take long, go order a cheeseburger at McDonald’s and skip the home study and the rest of the red tape.If you feel like God has called you to adopt/foster then you will have need of ‘steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God’ (Hebrews 10:36).
God’s timing is perfect. Our timing is based on what we can see at the moment. Instead it should be based on faith- the assurance of things we do not see. If we would have finalized our adoption when I wanted to, my youngest son would not have been eligible. Things take time for a reason. God’s thoughts are not ours (Isaiah 55:8). His ways are higher than ours. Man’s mind plans his way but the Lord directs his steps(Proverbs 16:9)
When it comes to sharing the Gospel and seeing it’s power do the work, the same principle applies. Some people are like pressure cookers on the verge of boiling, they are ready to receive and explode with excitement over the message. Others are like stone soup on simmer, you keep adding ingredients while they simmer and think. C.S. Lewis simmered over the good news for years.
” At age seventeen, Lewis wrote to longtime friend Arthur Greeves, “I believe in no religion. There is absolutely no proof for any of them, and from a philosophical standpoint Christianity is not even the best.” Fifteen years later, Lewis wrote to Arthur, “Christianity is God expressing Himself through what we call f’real things’. . . namely, the actual incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection”” –www.CSLewisInstitute.org
I don’t accept something without thinking it through thoroughly for days, weeks or months. Then if I agree, I have an aha moment! New converts are worth the wait. If you are praying for someone to come into the family of God, don’t give up!
6. He may not like you.
Especially when adopting older children, you may not feel that gushy-emotional feeling all the time. It goes both ways. A child may feel uncomfortable, act stiff and standoffish. He may not like the way you do things. When my first child was born, I was convinced that she didn’t like me. She was rarely content and I couldn’t do anything to change that. I hiked up and down the stairs with her in tow to keep her from crying all night. I drove her around in the car to get her to sleep. I was young and ignorant and believed a lie. I thought she would love me back right away. The truth is, she didn’t have the capacity to like or love me. She was a helpless being who needed taken care of, that was my job. Turns out, she had severe asthma and couldn’t breathe! The connection grew when I changed my attitude and perspective of parenting. One big happy family doesn’t mean kids will like you all the time. A adopted hurt child may not have the capacity to reciprocate love. He may be stuck in survival mode. Proactive parenting and patience are key. Accept the child where he is.
New brothers coming into the body of Christ may be in survival mode. They may not like everyone in the family. Survival behaviors may push people away. That doesn’t mean they don’t belong family. We are to bear one anothers burdens.
“Both to the Greeks and to barbarians (to the cultured and to the uncultured) both to the wise and the foolish. I have an obligation to discharge and a duty to perform and a debt to pay.” Romans 1:14
Older siblings in the body can share their stories and have compassion. We older kids in the body like to act as if we have it all together and always have. We don’t. The more real we are with new siblings, the more they will like us and the more capacity for growth through grace. Legalism stunts growth and promotes the growth of sin. Sin leads to death. Let’s not be a bunch of corpses. Let’s humbly live before one another and grow in grace and favor.