I just returned from China. My wife, oldest daughter and I went to China to get our son. We adopted a three and half year-old boy. It was an amazing trip. I not only brought back a son, but about a million life lessons. I couldn’t help but see the gospel implications of adoption in my son as we bonded and joined our journeys together.
When we first got Ben, what they call ‘gotcha day’, everything was surreal. We walked into a big room full of toys and child-appropriate decorations. We saw several kids being adopted who were already present. We were in a group of 13 families adopting children that day.
As we walked in, we experienced the moment when several families saw their kids waiting for them. We saw parents with looks of excitement, love and longing on their faces. The kids looked either terrified or numb. We watched as these parents tried to bond with their new kids.
Then it happened. Ben walked into the room. I recognized him instantly. I had been looking at pictures of Ben for over a year in anticipation of that moment. My wife was videoing the experience on her phone and tears of joy streamed down her face as we were introduced to our son.
He was not excited. He had not been looking at pictures of us in utter anticipation. We were weird-looking people who kept wanting to hold him and give him lollipops. Slowly, he started warming up to us.
After that day, things are getting better and are still improving. On the 15-hour flight home, I couldn’t help but see the similarities between Ben’s reaction to us and our reaction to God.
We too have been chosen, called out and destined for a new home. We too act terrified by the changes taking place. We have the same tendency—trying to hold on to what is familiar—when what God wants to give is so much better. We fight and cry against the removal of the familiar because we don’t yet trust what God has for us. We fight to maintain control instead of trusting God in the moment. Biblical fatherhood trusts God in all things.
When we first saw Ben, he was wearing beat up sandals. We had brand new sandals for him in our bag. We tried to remove his old, worn sandals and he pitched a fit. But, when we finally got the new sandals on his feet, he didn’t want to take them off.
Everything we gave him became his prized possessions. They were his only possessions. He slowly started to trust us with those possessions. It takes time for us too to trust God with our possessions. Oh, how we so easily forget He is the one who gave us everything we have. Biblical fatherhood understands everything good comes from God.
One last observation. At first, Ben wanted to be held all the time. Isn't this like us when we're new Christians? Ben calls me ‘Baba’, which is Mandarin for ‘Daddy’. When I hear his voice cry out ‘Baba!’ my heart wants to swoop him up in my arms where he feels safe and comforted.
But even over the last few days, he has asked me to hold him less as he wants to walk on his own. He is feeling more confident. As a child of God, don't we often forgot to simply rest in the arms God our ‘Abba, Father’. May we never grow so confident in our own abilities to walk—that we not crave the comfort only our Heavenly Father can provide. God, help us to call out to You and find rest. Biblical fatherhood finds rest in God no matter what.
I hope these reflections will encourage you to acknowledge your dependence on God, trusting in Him with your needs and possessions. I hope you will take time today to rest in the arms of your Heavenly Father, talk with Him and take a moment to simply be still and know that He is God.
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This is a guest post from Will King. Will is a doctoral student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary studying leadership. He is the associate pastor of students and men’s ministry at Memorial Baptist Church in Baytown, TX. Married to Lucinda for 13 years, they have three four wonderful kids.
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