Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wal-Mart and adoption

Shopping at Wal-Mart has never been an experience that I would call uplifting, inspirational, or encouraging. In fact, the words that usually come to mind when describing trips to Wal-Mart are frustrating, stressful and chaotic! This past week I had a very different experience. First of all, I had my two sons with me and they were amazingly calm and well-behaved throughout the entire shopping trip. That definitely made the trip a unique one! But while we were there, I also saw a family that was such an encouragement to my heart I just had to write about it.

The boys and I were waiting at the water fountains when a mother and several young children walked by to use the restrooms. The mother was white so when I noticed one of her children was black I took a second glance. "Must be an adoptive family," I thought. I noticed she also had two or three white boys with her, maybe biological children or maybe they were also adopted. Then I noticed her second daughter. She was an Asian girl, probably about 9 or 10 years old. This little girl really stood out to me for one reason: she had no arms.

I was immediately overcome with emotion when I realized what this family had done for this little girl. When I travelled to China, we would often see beggars on the streets who were maimed or crippled. They were the outcasts of society, and forced to live on the streets and beg for their survival. I thought of those beggars when I saw that little girl; that was the life she was most likely destined for until this family came and saved her from that. What an act of self-sacrificial love this family demonstrated when they brought this little girl into their family!

Seeing this family reminded me of an adoption that is even more amazing: the act of love God demonstrates when He adopts us into His family. We are all born sinners and destined for wrath, but when we are saved God adopts us into His family and bestows upon us all the blessings of being His child. That little girl had a horrible destiny when she was born, but that family brought her home and called her one of their own. Her destiny in life was completely changed, and she now had hope to live a wonderful life. It's very similar with sinners who are saved by God's grace. We are born with a horrible destiny, but when God saves us by His grace our lives and our future are completely changed. We have blessings and hopes that we never could have had if He hadn't have adopted us into His family.

Isn't adoption a beautiful thing? Earthly adoptions are not only a wonderful blessing for the adopting family and the adopted child, but they also give us a glimpse at the eternal blessings of being adopted by God into His family. I never got to speak with that mom (she was preparing to take several young children for a bathroom break which probably isn't the best time to engage someone in conversation) but I would have loved to have asked her about their adoption story and told her what an encouragement her family was to me. I've thought about them a lot over the last several days, and still get emotional when I think about that little girl and how blessed she was to be adopted into such an amazing family.

God often blesses us in ways that we can never expect or imagine, and I never thought standing by the water fountains at Wal-Mart would be an inspirational moment in my life. Whenever I am shopping and running errands, I am really bad about getting so caught up in what I am doing that I don' t take notice of those around me. I need to learn to slow down and be more attentive to people I come in contact with. You never know how God is going to bless you through them, just as this family blessed me last week.

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