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. Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV).
The nicest, sweetest person I’ve ever known was my grandmother, Mildred. I can’t recall a single instance where she raised her voice, spoke harshly or unkindly, encouraged any kind of violence or anger, or said or did anything to make another person deliberately cross. I find that amazing given that she lived with my grandfather, who was her temperamental polar-opposite. He was a good man, a very good one in my book, but still her complete opposite in many ways. I find her disposition even more amazing given that she also suffered from manic depression for most of her last 30 years. Whole books could be written on how her condition was diagnosed (or mis-diagnosed), and how she suffered but still persevered throughout it all, never complaining. Grandma was a woman of deep convictions rooted in the deepest faith.
She was also adopted. She was born in a Salvation Army hospital in St. Paul in 1905. We don’t know whether my great grandfather fathered her out of wedlock while he lived alone in Minnesota (before bringing his wife there in 1906), or whether she was simply the daughter of another woman, born into poverty. My great grandparents adopted her and raised her as their only child, taking her on travels between their ancestral home in western Pennsylvania and their adopted home of central Minnesota. When she grew into adulthood, Grandma first came to know about faith through Christian Science. But she found that faith system didn’t meet her deepest needs, and she soon drifted into the Swedish Lutheran church in the town where she was raised.
When I think of Jesus, I think of Him giving His life as the adoption papers so that you and I could be called “sons of God” despite our years of sin and rebellion. When I think of adoption, I think of that, and Grandma Kornmann, who clung to faith in this Jesus even during hard times, during years of disillusionment in her own life, during times of change, and during her sunset years of illness. She’s with Him now because she believed in Him then.
Jesus adopted her, bringing her into His family just as surely as Harvey and Mae Kimling did. Jesus provided her heart with a home, as surely as He provided the means for the Kimlings to give her a physical one. Jesus does the same thing for us. You and me, because we believe in Him, we’re adopted into His family, too. Because of what He did.
For further reading: Mark 1:15, Luke 2:27, John 1:12, John 3:17, Romans 3:24, Romans 5:6, Ephesians 1:10, Galatians 4:6
Lord, thank You for adopting us. And say hi to Grandma.
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