But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. – Galatians 4:4-7
In her book called Compelled by Love, Heidi Baker, a missionary to Mozambique, tells a story about a child named Ramadan who had come to live in their children’s village. When he first arrived, he would run around and bite and kick people, looking miserable all the time. Ramadan had experienced great pain in his early childhood, had never known love, and now was an orphan. There was so much shame and sadness in him that he would not look anyone in the eye. Ramadan did not believe he had access to his new family or their home.
Like some of the other children, Ramadan could not comprehend what a refrigerator was because he had never seen one before. He would not dare move toward the fridge and never had a Coca Cola in his life. Heidi took Ramadan by the hand and told him, “That fridge has a Coke in it. You can go get that Coke whenever you want it.” At bedtime, she would tuck him in and sing him a song. She regularly looked him in the eyes and said, “I will love you.” Then God started transforming his little heart. Finally, one day, Ramadan walked up to the fridge and took out a Coke. Heidi recounts that the first time he opened the fridge door and realized that it was his, that he belonged to the family, joy hit his heart and spiked across his face. He finally believed that he had full access to the home as a son. She explains that we are all a bit like this with God. We think things like, “Am I really allowed? Can I really open that door and have the good things that He offers? Does He really love me?” But through time with Him, God heals our abandoned and orphaned spirits.
When Galatians tells us that God redeemed and fully adopted us as His own children, that means all that is in God’s house is available to us. We are allowed to partake of His peace, His joy, His patience, His long-suffering, His healing, and His provision. We are free to be His children.
Research: Where Do I Belong?
As we get closer to the end of this week, we encourage you to pray and think about what you specifically could do to be a good volunteer or donor at the place you’ve chosen, and pray over the time or money you are going to spend at that place. Consider writing down ideas for how you’d like to help the organization(s) you’ve been researching, while bearing in mind that your organization of choice might just need help moving boxes or doing some other form of manual labor. All kinds of service can be valuable, and a crucial part of spending ourselves.
Activity: Who I Really Am
It’s time for a list! Well, three lists, actually. First, you’re going to make a list of how you see yourself. Do you think you’re funny? Smart? Kind? Write out what kind of person you believe you are; one-word descriptions and full sentences are both fine. Whenever you feel you have a pretty complete list of who you are in your own eyes, move on to the next list. For this one, look through the list of who God says you are that we linked to earlier. You can pick some from the index cards you wrote earlier, or find new ones. Try to get as many examples as you can. Then, reach out to friends and family and anyone else you feel knows you really well and ask them what they think of you. Write down all the ways they describe who you are. Then, when you’ve finished all three lists, compare them. Which do you think has the most truth in it? Which descriptions do you resonate with the most? Is there anything the three lists have in common?