“I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.”
John 14:18 has a
personal meaning for me because I’ve seen it firsthand. My brother, Titus, is
adopted. And because my parents were foster parents to him since before I was
born, he’s always been my brother. We even look alike, so much so that people
often think we’re blood related just because of our appearances. There was
never a time when he wasn’t my older brother, so for a long time I hadn’t spent
much time contemplating what John 14:18 really means. At least not until three
My brother has a sister and a half-brother, but he didn’t know much about
them because they were separated, and his siblings grew up in a group home
until they were 18. But three years ago Ti’s sister found him on Facebook. He
got to meet his long-lost biological sister and discovered he’s an uncle to
three nieces. I think it’s extraordinarily cool that he was able to reconnect
with his biological family, but the difference in their lives is astounding.
All because my brother got adopted and his sister didn’t.
My brother and his siblings all have learning disabilities to the extent
that being able to provide for anyone beside themselves is difficult at best.
But my brother worked really hard, along with the efforts of my parents, to be
self-sufficient. He graduated from high school, lives on his own, and for the
most part, is able to live a fulfilling and independent life. My parents are
there to help him with things like managing his money, driving him to
appointments, etc. They are his advocates and help him get the social services
that he needs.
But my brother’s sister doesn’t have any of that. When she turned 18 she
aged out of the group home she was in, and was left to fend for herself. No one
to help her set up a bank account or encourage her to pursue an education or
teach her how to buy car insurance or make spaghetti. And like most of us
would, she floundered. She lives in a tiny trailer, barely making it on her
minimum wage job, and the father of her kids hasn’t been in the picture for a
long time. There’s no one there to help her navigate the confusing world of
government assistance programs. And so the cycle continues.
What a difference a loving family has made for my brother! Sure, his
material world is vastly more advantageous than hers, but it’s deeper than
that. He knows he’s not alone in the world. He has a family. He’ll
never be an orphan like his sister. He knows that no matter what happens, we’re
there for him.
And the (obvious) spiritual parallel is that God does that with us. Left to
our own devices, we can’t break free from our own sin and shortcomings. We need
a Savior like my brother needed a family. To me, that’s what it means to be
adopted as a daughter of my heavenly Father. I have an earthly family and a
family of other believers and a loving Father who will always be there to help
me navigate this thing called life.
We’re never on our own. God, in Christ, has come to us!