Daily encouragement

Video by

Kat Brown

ACF Devo Team

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Romans 5:6-8

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Behind the Scenes

Kids can ask some tough questions. Since foster care and adoption have been part of our family’s story, my four, five, and six-year-old kiddos, small as they are, have had some big questions about family preservation and child welfare. One question they’ve come back to several times is why some kids return to their birth parents while others are adopted. The answer has to do with the permanency. It is not healthy for children to linger in foster care indefinitely. Therefore, if a child is unable to reunify with their birth family within a prescribed timeframe, their permanency goal shifts from reunification to adoption.

Permanent homes and forever families, whether those be with birth relatives or adopted ones, are critical for children to flourish. The Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center lists some positive outcomes of achieving permanency: permanency facilitates strong peer alliances, helps a child form and maintain deep attachment to caretaker, and promotes a long-term sense of connectedness. Conversely, failure to achieve permanency can result in a “profound sense of loss and not belonging, all of which can lead to distrust and a fear of forming healthy relationships.”  

Why am I talking about this? What does it have to do with God showing his love for us by dying for us while we were still sinners? Everything, really. You see, Jesus didn’t just issue us a pardon; he extended us an invitation. He didn’t just offer us a ticket out of Hell; he welcomed us into his family. From today’s verse in Romans 5 through the next several chapters, Paul describes the implications of Christ’s death and resurrection on our lives.

This encouraging and challenging section of scripture culminates in Romans 8, where Paul says, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God…you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (8:14-15). As believers, we have the most beautiful permanency plan, one of ultimate security and belonging. In fact, Romans 8 ends by assuring us that nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is this sense of belonging and security that allows Jesus’ followers to flourish.

Make it Real

Our secure sense of belonging in God’s forever family allows us to experience the many benefits of permanency. It helps us create strong peer alliances with our brothers and sisters in Christ and allows us to form and maintain a deep attachment to our caretaker, our Heavenly Father. On the flip side, all around us, we see people who have not accepted the invitation of adoption into God’s family suffering the negative consequences of a lack of permanency. Profound loss, distrust, and fear very aptly describe the world around us.

Your neighbors and coworkers may be unsure about who they believe Jesus to be or what happens to us after death. But something they are sure of is their desire to belong. They may not be ready to believe exactly what you believe, but they need to know that there is a place for them to admit their uncertainty and wrestle with their doubts all while being fully accepted and loved.  

When you think about sharing the good news that while we were sinners, God loved us so much he sent Christ to die for us, do you think about sharing a set of doctrines to be agreed upon or about sharing an invitation to be accepted? Before someone is ready to be invited into God’s family, they might first need to be invited into yours. Who can you invite into your home, your social circle, your weekend plans, or your church community this week?

End in Prayer

Father in Heaven, thank you for the incredible peace I have knowing I am your child. Thank you for leading me, for desiring the best for me, and for comforting me. Help me to extend your love to others. I want to fill the empty seats at my table and let the people around me know there is a place they belong. Empower me, Holy Spirit. Wherever I go, let it be on Earth as it is in your Heavenly family. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.

Written by

Hailey Schroeder

ACF Devo Team