For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Southern Baptist leader, Russell Moore, and his wife, Maria, adopted two Russian boys, both one year old. Visiting the boys’ orphanage in the former Soviet Union, the Moores noticed that it was an eerily quiet place. The children living there did not cry. Since the children had few if any to answer them, they eventually stopped crying altogether. Fatherless and motherless, crying seemed futile.
I would guess that there are few portraits of human hopelessness and resignation more vivid and grievous to the heart than this one. The reality of children learning to mute their instinctive cries due to sustained neglect is a portrait almost too horrifying to imagine.
Thankfully, the Moores didn’t visit for a day. They visited everyday for several days. And on the final of those many preliminary visits, Russell Moore put his fatherly hands on the boys’ heads and promised through prayer, “I will not leave you as orphans. I will come back to you.”
And then, a most amazing thing happened. As he and his wife turned to leave, one of the boys began crying! Moore later recalled, “He knew he had parents. He knew someone was going to hear him.”
We’re all born crying, not only physically – but spiritually. Born in the image of God, our souls long for the comfort of a God-like communion, for the reassuring sense that we are secure in arms as strong and loving his. This longing is woven into the fabric of our souls. We find true rest and contentment in nothing less. Until we find this peace in God, we will seek it in other things. When all other substitutes prove ineffective, we might even give up.
Thankfully, we don't need to live a restless life in search of love and meaning. Jesus entered this orphanage of souls to adopt all who would receive him into God's family. With the Spirit of adoption, we now instinctively cry out for our Father’s love (Romans 8:15).
Child of God: Have your worldly searches for security, significance, and satisfaction left you exhausted and empty? Has your exhaustion and emptiness left you feeling alone and abandoned? Is your soul sick of crying with no relief, maybe even in a state of quiet and hopeless resignation? Remember the promise of Jesus: you are no longer an orphan. You are now a beloved, adopted child of God. Cry out to your Father. He loves you, and he’s listening.
You’re loved. Don’t forget it.
Russell D. Moore, Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches
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