Why are there NO examples of adoption in the Bible?
Today, I was very moved by a verse from the book of Job.
“But if I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before Him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted” (Job 5:8-9 NIV).
I immediately wrote it out on pink card stock and, on a whim, propped it in the branches of my still bare and unlit Christmas tree. It’s been beckoning to me all afternoon.
And I’m realizing that I’ve always been a little bit bewildered by the book of Job. I’ve questioned why God would allow one man to experience such tremendous loss (ten children, thousands of livestock, and all but four of many servants), in one single day, only to prove a point to an enemy who knows he is already defeated.
And why give the devil an almost cart blanche ticket for destruction? Were Job’s friends who mourned with him really good friends or did they just give terrible advice? I don’t know; I’ve heard so many juxtaposed sermons through the years and I’m still a little confused by it all.
But tonight I’m asking totally different questions.
Somewhere in this house, there are two blue floral journals containing a ballpoint copy of the book of Job. A remnant of those homeschooled teenager days when I’d sit for hours at my parents’ kitchen table laboriously concentrating (in a house with six siblings and a home business) to make sure I did not let “one jot or tittle pass away.”
And I remember my writer’s cramp agreeing with Job’s wife, “Curse God and die.” Be done with it already.
But no, it droned on and on. Forty-two chapters worth.
But in the end, there was redemption. It was bittersweet, and long in the making, but it was there. God replaced everything Job lost, including his ten children.
WHY DIDN’T JOB ADOPT
And this is where a person who has been steeped in modern Christian culture could begin to think that God (again) got it all messed up and focused on the wrong message.
See, Job’s story was the perfect segue for God to teach us, His children, about adoption. But instead, God completely ignores this opportunity and has Job and his wife spend at least a decade (unless they had twins or other multiples) BIRTHING ten more children.
Not exactly an insta-fix.
JOB WAS EQUIPPED
Job and his wife could have immediately adopted ten more children, or twenty.
They were proven pillars in their community (wealthy established landowners, even if their flocks, servants and children had just been taken.) Given a little time to pull themselves together, these two would have aced even the most rigorous home study. Surely, there was at least a handful of less-deserving/capable/resourced parents, somewhere in the land, who would be best served by being stripped of their children.
JOB WAS RIGHTEOUS
After all, Job was the most righteous man on the planet. Says who? you ask. Well, God Himself: “Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” (Job 1:8)
And Job already had a heart for helping the orphan, the poor and the widow (Job 29:12-13).
God could have had Job and his wife adopt a sibling group. What a triumph that would’ve been, to both keep the children together and allow for an almost immediate restoration and replication of what had been lost! But no, God also leaves that option lying on the table.
With needing ten replacements, God could have demonstrated how He wants us, His people, to adopt from many nations. Job and his friends could have started a fundraiser and sent his remaining four servants to the four corners of the earth to adopt from as many different countries and nationalities as possible. It could have been a beautiful foreshadowing of The Great Commission being carried out in our own homes and families. The first multiethnic adoption story.
GOD HAS A BETTER PLAN
Once again, I am reminded of how adoption is not only NOT in the Bible but how many times God has passed up seemingly perfect situations to teach us, by example, how to adopt.
We are never guilted, pressured, or burdened into adopting. Well, not in the Bible anyway. And there is not a single gut wrenching/heart warming/tearjerking story of adoption redemption anywhere to be found.
Such missed opportunity.
He doesn’t even try to help us see how we can be the ones to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and how WE can fix the holes and losses and gaps in our lives with adoption.
Instead, I am reminded once again that throughout Scripture God’s primary focus is on the family, the true family, the one that HE provides (by opening and closing the womb) not the ones that are manufactured by us. Even when that means initial loss and/or sorrow in the waiting.
I am reminded that heritage and lineage are important to Him. He has never given an example of providing for us with other people’s children. And he reminds us time and time again that we can trust him.
SO DON’T DO IT
I implore you, fellow believer, don’t preach a message that is not in the Bible. Don’t champion a cause that is not God’s own. And don’t support the removal of a child from a parent in the name of helping an “orphan” while the “widow” is left to fend for herself, clean up, sober up, marry up, and then spend the rest of her life knowing her child will never be with her again.
Instead, the message we should be teaching in the church is that God will provide. Period. Not that we will provide for ourselves what God does not provide for us.
I recently heard from the pulpit, “Ladies, God will not answer your prayers with another woman’s husband.” There was audible rustling of affirmation throughout the congregation.
And having heard one too many times how some adulterous affair that led to creating one home and marriage after dismantling another was “just such a God-thing” (because of how all the stars aligned and “impossibly impossible details that no one but GOD could have orchestrated just all came together seamlessly”), the words just escaped me right there on the pew: “Damn straight.”
Because we get this. We seem to collectively understand that there are no limits on how God can, and does, miraculously provide for us (when those limits do not go against His law/His nature).
But when it comes to adoption, all bets are off. There seems to be a collective belief that God will provide even a person who already belongs to another family, no matter the expense to that family. And we have gotten (collectively) very good at talking about how these adoption stories are just filled with beautiful “God-things” and how all of those things point to the “obvious” hand of God in our lives and on our adoptions.
Like seriously, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone talking about their sister/brother/friend/cousin/coworker/son/daughter’s adoption only to top it off with, “It was just all God,” and I tried not to visibly cringe. . . I wouldn’t have enough to fund an adoption but I could certainly splurge at Pier 1.
It’s everywhere. This collective group think within Christian circles that GOD is for adoption and that he TELLS us to adopt.
And we move forward with that at the expense of anyone or anything. As long as in the end we get what we want.
I for one am not buying it because I’m not seeing it anywhere in Scripture.
What I AM seeing is God’s beautiful hand of provision in our lives when we trust him and don’t take matters into our own hands but accept His will and direction (and timing) for our lives and families and allow him to righteously fulfill the desires of our hearts, should He choose to.
I still have a lot of questions about the book of Job. But I at least think I can see why that verse from Job came into my life today.
(And of course if you think that sounds dubious, I’ll just tell you it was “all God” or whatever stops you dead in your tracks and makes your point seem inarguable 😉 )
“But if I were you, I would appeal to God. I would lay my cause before Him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted” (Job 5:8, 9).