1 Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. 2 Instead, he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world. 4 But when the completion of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “, Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
(Galatians 4:1-7, HCSB)
Nature vs. Nurture
One of the most widespread fears of adoption is that parents are unsure of what “they are getting themselves into” with a child of unknown history. Even if parents believe in the power of nurture, they may still have concern concerning the effect that nature had on the child. Did the biological parents pass bad traits down to that child? Have they experienced something that may make them difficult to raise?
But does a parent of a child really know what they “are getting” even with a biological child? There are surprises at every turn. The only parent who really knows what he is getting into is God.
In this passage, Paul speaks of God adopting us into our family. His situation is different than ours. He is completely aware of our nature and nurture. He not only knows our genes, he made them. He is aware of where people have hurt us in the past and he is aware of where we have hurt others. He is fully knowledgeable concerning our troubled condition, and yet he still chooses us to adopt us.
In adoption circles, it is understood that the older a child gets, the less likely they will be adopted. The reason being is that the longer they are in an orphanage, the more bad habits they can develop. They have a longer history of neglect which can lead to issues. Due to these factors, those children with a more complex history rarely have someone choose to adopt them because of the accompanying challenge.
And yet, that is exactly what God did for us. He knows every bit of our history. He is aware of our challenges, failures, heartaches, addictions, anger, immorality, and emotions. And yet, instead of turning away and labeling us as damaged goods, he reaches down and loves us fully aware of what “he is getting into.”
Today, be thankful that we have a Father who is aware of how much trouble we as children can be, yet he still loves us anyway.