Abba, Father!

—the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
— Romans 8:15

The Father would make to himself sons and daughters as shall be his sons and daughters not merely by having come from his heart, but by having returned thither—children in virtue of being such as whence they came, such as choose be what he is. He will have them share in his being and nature—strong wherein he cares for strength; tender and gracious as he is tender and gracious; angry where and as he is angry Even in the small matter of power, he will have them able to do whatever his Son Jesus could on the earth, whose was the life of the perfect man, whose works were those of perfected humanity. Everything must at length be subject to man, as it was to The Man. When God can do what he will with a man, the man may do what he will with the world; he may walk on the sea like his Lord; the deadliest thing will not be able to hurt him: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater than these shall he do.”

He has made us, but we have to be. Those who live as Jesus lived—by obedience, namely, to the Father, have a share in their own making; the light becomes life in them. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” He does not make them the sons of God, but he gives them power to become the sons of God: in choosing and obeying the truth, man becomes the true son of the Father of lights.

Commentary

by Jolyn Canty

JUne 1.jpg

In the summer of 1990, my husband and I traveled to Romania, and with the help of a Romanian Believer, returned home with our new son, Samuel.  Abandoned at birth, he had lived in an orphanage in Iasi, in Northeastern Romania.  There were about one hundred children in the orphanage, and, sadly, there were only three women to care for all of them.  When I entered the orphanage, I was appalled by the horrid conditions and perplexed by the overwhelming silence there.  The children knew that no one would come when they cried, so they learned to rock together to a silent melody and retreat into a quiet world of their own; that is why the orphanage was silent.  We were concerned that our new son would not bond with us or trust us after being so horribly neglected in the orphanage.  We had so many questions and fears.  Would he receive our love?  Would he understand and accept love?  Would he allow me to be his mother?  Would he finally feel safe and feel that he belonged?  Would he allow himself to be a part of a family?

Our fears were valid, but God is greater than our fears.  Sam just needed consistent, confident, unending love.  It only took a few weeks of constantly holding and stimulating him before he stopped retreating into his silent world.  Then, slowly, he began to trust and blossom, bit by bit, day by day.  I often marveled that he would trust me and would grant me the great privilege of being his mother.

After we adopted Samuel, we became foster parents, eventually adopted a foster child, and later became guardians of a teenager from China.  In each case the same principle remained; the children just needed to be loved and to feel like they belonged before the healing could begin, and, then, they needed to choose us and choose belonging.  Sam, and then Timothy and Colin, became the visual reality of what my relationship to God must be — I must choose to be His, choose to trust Him, choose to accept and receive His love, choose to belong, and choose to obey.
MacDonald so beautifully describes this process:

“He does not make them the sons of God, but he gives them power to become the sons of God: in choosing and obeying the truth, man becomes the true son of the Father of lights.”

May we each surrender to His incredible love and become His, bit by bit, day by day.  In truth, we, too, are orphans, each living in our own silent worlds.  We long for His song of love to free us from our self-imprisonment and adopt us as His sons and daughters of light.

                               Samuel with me on his wedding day.

                               Samuel with me on his wedding day.