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Orphans No Longer!

“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

years ago.

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!

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