One of my favorite moments of The Gospel Coalition Conference was listening to CJ Mahaney speak about Adoption.
He shared a story from Garrison Keillor about a feeling I’m pretty familiar with:
They chose the popular ones first…and now the choice is hard because we’re all so much the same: not so hot – and then we are down to their last grudging choices, a slow kid for catcher, and someone to stick out in right field where nobody hits it, except maybe two guys, and when they come to bat the captain sends the poor right-fielder to the left, a long ignominious walk. They choose the last ones two at a time, “You and you,” because it makes no difference, and the remaining kids, the scrubs, the excess they deal for as handicaps (‘If I take him, then you gotta take him.”) Sometimes I go as high as sixth, usually lower. But just once I’d like Darrel to pick me first and say, “Him! I want him! The skinny kid with the glasses and the black shoes. You, c’mon!”
But I’ve never been chosen with much enthusiasm.
Every human heart longs to be picked; to be wanted. Perhaps mine most of all.
I know that belief in God’s free electing grace should fill that need for me, but most of the time, if I’m honest, it feels as if I was chosen ‘without much enthusiasm.’
Here’s the deal: I know that I wasn’t chosen by God because of any specific skill. There is nothing about me that makes me a good catch for God. And unfortunately, the world has translated that truth to mean that I haven’t really been chosen. The world whispers to us that unless we are chosen of our strengths, it doesn’t count.
When we grasp our depravity, we conclude that we must have been chosen begrudgingly or indifferently. We assume we are interchangeable to God. We conclude, that yes, we have been wanted and chosen, but picked at random, with no particular affection; without much enthusiasm.
That just doesn’t seem to be how the Scripture speaks.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
God sent forth His Son. His Son lived and suffered and died. God sacrificed His Son. He crushed His Son on the Cross under the full weight of HIs wrath for His enemies. In order to redeem us. Why? So that He could adopt us.
All that God did to justify us, He did so that He could adopt us: so that He could be a Father to us.
Can we consider all that and then dare to use the phrase without much enthusiasm to describe the adopting love of Christ?
We are unworthy. Why then does God love us? How could He love us? This is the mystery of His mercy. This is why we should be amazed.
We must seek not to resolve the issue. We must seek to sit in amazement of His love: He wants us. He wants me.
We will always be loved. Not because we are worthy, but because we are His. It is the mystery of adopting grace.