It’s easy to get wrapped up in the everyday routine of working at camp and forget the weight of the gospel. I have to remind myself daily of the power of the Word and the power of our testimonies as children of God. On the third day of student camp one, I had a one-on-one with a camper who had been adopted. I usually have at least one camper a week who is adopted, so this isn’t a rare occurrence, but this girl was different. As she spoke and shared her testimony with me, I began to see the tie between her adoption story and my adoption story. While hers was physical, mine was spiritual. Long story short, this camper had experienced a hard home life in her early years, but by the grace of God, a loving family chose to adopt her. They chose to love her unconditionally, accept her, walk with her throughout her life, and pursue her though she may have never asked.
Just like that family longed to do all of those things for the girl, this is exactly what the Lord longs to do for me, you, and everyone else. Romans 8:15-16 says, “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!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we children of God.” When I prayed to receive Jesus, I was adopted into his spiritual family. When a child is adopted physically, they are given a new name; they have a new family committed to raising them, a family who will make the child an heir to all they have. In the exact same way, that is what God has done for us the moment we receive his Spirit. He has adopted us into his family, bore our sin and shame at the cross, given us His name, and calls us heirs of His Kingdom. He does all of this with great love. Through Jesus we have been given a spirit of adoption. When we choose to walk in faith and trust Jesus, we enter into God’s family. We are God’s children, and because of this we will inherit His promises and His Kingdom.
The testimony of this little girl reminded me of the depth of a spiritual adoption. Hearing the deep pain she had experienced before being adopted, and then hearing the overwhelming joy and freedom she felt when she was adopted is exactly what I had felt before and after receiving Christ. When we are walking through life without Jesus as our Savior, we experience so much pain and suffering, but when we receive Christ and are adopted into His family, we can walk freely in His abundant joy and grace. Her physical adoption is a beautiful display of the spiritual adoption we partake in when we place our faith in Jesus.