More Walks with John Piper

Thought we’d share some more of John Piper’s writings on adoption.  At the age of 50, he and his wife adopted for the first time!  They already had sons who were grown at that time. So, no, you are not too old to adopt if you are considering it and fear you are too old. Wouldn’t it be better for an orphan to have parents rather than no parents? Parents that are older have so much more experience and patience! This is an excerpt from John Piper:

1. We adopt a child not for our own glory but for God’s glory.

God adopted us for the praise of the glory of his grace. Therefore we adopt for the praise of the glory of his grace. The questions you ask as you ponder adopting a child who needs a family are not first questions of feasibility or affordability. The questions you ask first are: Is my heart fixed on glorifying the grace of God? Is my aim in this to make the grace of God look glorious? Is Christ the center and goal of this decision? Are all the factors being weighed in relation to Christ? We adopt a child not for our own glory but for the glory of God’s grace.

2. In adopting and rearing a child our goal is not to make much of the child, but rather to live and teach and lead in such a way that the child grows up to enjoy making much of God.

Our aim is not to take a child’s low views of self and replace them with high views of self. Rather our aim is to take a child’s low views of God and replace them with high views of God. Our aim is not take a child with little sense of worth and fill him with a great sense of worth. Rather our aim is to take a child who by nature makes himself the center of the universe and show him that he was made to put God at the center of the universe and get joy not from seeing his own tiny worth, but from knowing Christ who is of infinite worth. We adopt to lead a child to the everlasting joy of making much of the glory of the grace of God.

3. In adopting we model for children and others the mercy and the justice of God.

We model mercy because we freely choose to love this child, no matter what. Many adoptions happen sight unseen. The child passes no test. He is loved freely without meeting conditions. We don’t base our choice on what we see. We love because we have been loved. This is mercy.

And when the child comes, chosen freely by mercy, we now fold that child into a pattern of firm and sweet discipline. We fold him into the mercy of justice. From the very beginning, within weeks, there are expectations and consequences when these expectations are not met. We raise the child in “the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (paideia kai nouthesia kuriou). And we know from Hebrews 12 that the discipline of the Lord is often painful because without discipline there will be no “peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). So we see in adoption the mercy and the justice of God mingled in wise and loving proportion.

4. Adopting will almost certainly bring heartache and stress and suffering, just like adoption cost God the life of his Son.

We are adopted “through Jesus Christ”—through his suffering. I have letters from parents in my files describing the agony of adoptions that didn’t work or almost didn’t work. Cases of mental illness and profound physical disability and bizarre and inexplicable behavior. Of course this is not unique to adoption. It can happen—it does happen—with our biological children. The implication is this: we adopt with our eyes wide open. This will bring pain. And this may bring tragedy. We embraced it. And, if we are faithful, in the end, it will certainly bring joy. Because of implication #5:

5. We dare only adopt children if we have a firm faith in the all-sufficiency of God’s future grace.

The pain of adopting and rearing children is sure. It will come in one form or the other. Should that stop us from having children or adopting children? No. The self-centered world “cuts their losses” by having few or no children. (And there is way too much of that thinking in the church.) In one sense we may be very glad that such people don’t tend to have children or at least not many children. Because it means that breed of selfish person will die out more quickly since they don’t replace themselves. But on the other hand, we grieve, hoping that they will see that the grace of God is sufficient for every new day no matter how difficult, and that there is more true joy in walking with God through fire, than walking on beaches without him.

 

We hope you have grown from more walks with John Piper.

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