I noticed him sitting on the bench outside the checkout counter at Wal-Mart. A young man, waiting to pick a fight, hoping to get a response out of somebody.
My daughter and I walked by, bags in hand, when the man blurted it out:
“That ain’t yo’ kid.”
I knew the tone of his voice—I taught high school boys once, some who were rough around the edges, with a sharpness to their voices when they were about to snap.
As we walked out of earshot, my daughter said, “What did that man say to us?”
I paused for a second then I asked her, “What do you think he said?”
She thought for a second. “It sounded like ‘Hey there, Jo kid,’” she said.
I was quiet walking to the car, but my blood was boiling.
I wanted to drop my bags, storm back inside and say,
How dare you say she’s not my child? She will always be my child.
Instead, I got in the van and drove away.
The man on the bench, the one making accusations, was seeing skin and blood ties, not the all-encompassing love I poured out everyday for my child. He didn’t recognize that parenting is more than bearing a child—it’s loving that child past yourself, loving them so much you’d sacrifice anything for them, even your own life. Any parent, adoptive or biological, will tell you that.
As my husband, Sam said,
We tend to define our relationships by biology. The man in Wal-Mart was doing that. We do that as Christians when we assume we are in God’s family by our actions or connections. And the Accuser does it when he questions if the Father really loves us and will be there for us. The missing piece is that adoption trumps all of that. Adoption trumps biology in our family and God’s adoption through the blood of Jesus trumps everything including biology and even national loyalties. It trumps all.
We are family, no matter what that man in Wal-Mart says.
It was only later that I realized these same words could be the words of the Accuser, questioning our own relationship with God:
You aren’t God’s child.
All these dirty stains make us doubt. We cover our ears but the doubts still find a way in.
We see the blood on our hands, the things we don’t want to do, but do anyways. We can’t believe God would let us in his family when our very souls are tainted.
So we allow the doubts to sink deep, to cause us to question our own identity, to question God’s love.
It’s like the doubt planted by the serpent in the garden when he asked,
Did God really say….?”
Satan will always try us at our weakest spot, making us question God’s promises.
How could he love you? If he loved you, he wouldn’t make you go through this pain.
One of the mistakes believers buy into is thinking that because we have faith, we won’t doubt. We won’t have a dark night of the soul. We won’t go through pain and suffering.
I’ve seen children limp on hospital beds and parents pleading over their child’s failing health, and I know that the Accuser wants us to believe, in those moments, that God wouldn’t let us go through this, not if he really loved us.
But faith does not protect us from pain. Faith is what holds us together, certain of what we believe and know, even when we do not feel it.
We shake off the voice of the Accuser when we take his words and let it penetrate our hearts, soaking our soul in truth.
You are loved. You are his child. Nothing you have done will snatch you from his hands.
We fight against the sinking sands of doubt when we sing in faltering voices,
On Christ the solid rock I stand.
Sometimes we cling to the Rock, desperate for sure footing when the waters rise deep.
He rescues us from the deep, reminding us we are his own.
We are His child.
There was never any doubt about that.