BY THE REV. LESLIE UHRINAK
Mission of the Cross Lutheran Church Crosslake
My wife and her siblings are adopted. Of the four, she is the only one who went looking for her birth mother.
At first she simply wanted to find out if she was alive, but later she hoped to meet her. The problem was, until her adoptive mother and her biological grandmother died, it was felt that they should not meet because of all the emotions that would surface.
Today, however, they are together since their mothers who raised them are with Jesus. Now, the doors are open, when once closed, because of the emotional upset it would have caused.
And why is that? Because their lives had been complicated by a sinful act. You see, my wife’s birth mother has cerebral palsy and she was taken advantage of. The result being, my wife was born from the sinful behavior her father imposed upon her mother.
Nevertheless, our heavenly Father is ever gracious in the midst of our sinful brutality as He continues to bring good out of our bad. This is how I see Jesus, since He has blessed me with my wife.
This also holds true for her mother. She now has a family completed in her daughter and grandchildren. For her, there is joy because my wife sought her out. But still, the question remains: “Who is her father?”
My guess is my wife will never know. His sinful act we might speculate has been enough to darken any desire of his to learn he has a child. How true it is then, that sin lies at the root of all our relational troubles.
Consider our common reality in this, how families are created in, and remain compromised because of, sinful relationships. Think of how the sin we are born with perpetuates hurts like my wife and her mother bear. Read the statistics on how many absent fathers there are.
Reflecting on this myself, it became quite apparent how blessed my wife was to have a loving adoptive father to fill in for her absent one. It put into perspective how blessed we are by our heavenly Father who came to adopt us and take us to His home free from our sinful condition.
Our heavenly Father is certainly unlike ours who can abandon us because He is without sin. And as the only perfect adoptive parent, He chooses us when in our sin we have no capacity to choose Him. This is what the Gospel says, that Jesus came in person so He might reveal that He is our true Father that gives us His name. He is a loving Father, therefore, who gathers us up as the orphans we are and then adopts us into a new life with Him.
My wife’s adoptive father, Jim, modeled this when he rescued her on her adoption day. So the truth is Jesus loved us even though we are all natural born sinners. Jesus came to choose you because He knew, like my wife at her birth, you were incapable of choosing who your true Father is.
This is the Good News we have in Christ, that it was His deliberate choice to bring salvation to us, since we could not choose it for ourselves. And so I thought, we are a lot like the orphan who gets angry at their absent father for leaving, when we believe that God has deserted us.
For this reason, I have grown to appreciate the gift of faith Jesus gives us in our sinful rejection of Him, as Gerhard Forde, a contemporary theologian, comments, “Yes, indeed, you have made a decision for Christ, (but not to choose him as your Father) but to put him on the cross. It’s God’s decision about you however, that finally counts.”
How true this is about our gracious adoption through Christ as He said: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” (John 15:1)