“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will…” Ephesians 1:5
One thing that is truly amazing about the Bible is how it meets us where we are – it is a living text. As I grow, I can read the same passage in a new way.
Take the relationships we have with God. God is our Father and we are sons and daughters. God is the groom and we are the bride. Those two relationships hold great truths based on the place we are in life.
God as Father:
As a child, I had an amazing dad. He was fun and loving. He met my every need and many of my wants. Everyone loved my dad. It was easy for me to see God as a father. God as father, knew me personally, cared for me and loved me. God as father could be trusted and relied upon. I could find comfort in God as father. I could follow this God.
Christ as Groom:
As a teenager, I was a bit boy crazy. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit now, but I thought way too much about dating and romance during my teen years. I did not make the wisest decisions. Boy, did I love the idea of Christ as the groom who was seeking me out as a loving bride. That he would pursue me and desire an intimate relationship with me just blew my mind. I was in love with the idea of the bride of Christ. I could love and follow this God.
God as Father:
As a young mother, I had a deep respect for God as father. I understood sleepless nights, grumpy, disobedient toddlers,and sacrifice. I’d make a rule for my child’s own good, which they would grumble and complain about. It was exhausting at times. Yet, I also understood this deep love. There was a deep love that couldn’t be stopped by defiance, unkind words, or any number of bad days. I could see myself in my children. I was a stubborn, complaining, ungrateful child. A God who could love me with that kind of unconditional love was definitely a God who I could follow.
Christ as Groom:
In the Father of the Bride, Steve Martin’s character says, “Then, you stop worrying about her meeting the wrong guy, and you worry about her meeting the right guy.” As a parent of teens, I must say that I think an awful lot about my kids meeting both the right and the wrong people. I worry about their life choices. My kids would tell you that I am overprotective. I wonder what it must be like to be God the Father offering his son as groom to a bride like me. I know I’m not good enough. I am not enough, period. Yet, God gives his blessing on that relationship. (And yes, I know that the bride of Christ is the church, not me personally, but we are still a part of this amazing union.) A God who could offer me so much is definitely a God I could follow.
Adoption into the family of God:
The idea that God adopted us into his family was always sort of a side note for me. It just provided a little explanation as to how he became my father. That was until we brought a 15-year-old boy into our home that already sported a toddler and an infant. It was is an interesting experience raising a boy with whom we had no backstory. There were struggles; there were joys. There was no teenage struggle nor physical distance that could break our family bond. We made a choice to bring our son into our family, and that choice was irrevocable the moment he accepted our offer. I recall standing in front of the judge when we legally adopted our son at the age of 23. Our other kids knew no other reality than him as their brother. He didn’t live in our home anymore, but that didn’t negate our relationship any more than it would have one of our biological children. Adopting an adult is a much simpler process than adopting a child. There are no parental rights to sever, just paperwork. The act of adopting simply formalized a decision that my husband and I had made almost a decade earlier. The courts had now assured our son equal footing with our other children in all aspects of family life from inheritance to next of kin rights. It also gave him a new name. He had always belonged to us, but now that became evident to all the world and the bond became unbreakable.
Adopting has changed me, and the way I view God. His love is far greater than mine, and his promises are unbreakable. I understand the adoption into God’s family on a very personal level now. We are forever in God’s family; we belong. God invites us into his family and we get to choose to accept his offer or not. And fortunately, the judge who presides over the case is God as well. We can have full confidence that our place is secure and our destiny assured. This is definitely a family I want to be a part of. Christian is a name I carry with pride.
As the years have passed and my life has changed, my view of God has changed as well. God, however, has not changed. I grow and change and understand just a little more about Him. Growing up, getting married, becoming a parent, and adopting a child are all aspects of my life that have drawn me into a deeper relationship with God. Some people’s experiences in life have not lent them to embrace the ideas of God as father or groom. I am sure that breaks His heart. All adoption stories begin with some brokenness. (Unfortunately, some end that way as well.) There is never the ideal adoption, yet it is this image that God gives us. He knew we were in a broken world, and we were broken people. He invites us into a healing relationship with Him. I hope if you are finding this idea to be hard to accept or too good to be true, that you will give it a chance. He is definitely the Father you prayed you’d have.