Russell D. Moore is President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and a frequent media commentator on moral and theological issues. His book Adopted for Life tells how he and his wife adopted two Russian sons and explains the parallels between adopting children and the adoption believers enjoy in Christ. In this passage, Moore recounts taking his sons home from the squalid orphanage of their infancy. Their perverse desire to return to the filthy Russian facility parallels Christians’ desires to remain in this fallen, but familiar, world rather than anticipate the eternal home their adoptive Father is preparing. The story reminds parents that their care for earthly children must reflect the care God gives to His spiritual offspring.
They’d never seen the sun, and they’d never felt the wind. They had never heard the sound of a car door slamming or felt like they were being carried along a road at 100 miles an hour. I noticed that they were shaking and reaching back to the orphanage in the distance…
I whispered to Sergei, now Timothy, “That place is a pit! If only you knew what’s waiting for you—a home with a mommy and a daddy who love you, and grandparents and great-grandparents and cousins and playmates and McDonald’s Happy Meals!” But all they knew was the orphanage. It was squalid, but they had no other reference point. It was home.1
The trauma of leaving the orphanage was unexpected to me because I knew how much better these boys’ life would soon be. I thought they knew too. But they had no idea. They couldn’t conceive of anything other than the status quo. My whispering to my boys, “You won’t miss that orphanage” is only a shadow of something I should have known already. Our Father tells us that we too are unable to grasp what’s waiting for us—and how glorious it really is. It’s hard for us to long for an inheritance to come, a harmonious Christ-ruled universe, when we’ve never seen anything like it.2
… We don’t fully believe that our new Father will feed us, so we hang on to our scraps and long for the regimented schedules of the orphanage from which we’ve come. And when our Father pushes us along to new tastes, we pout that he’s not good to us. But he’s readying us for glory, preparing us to take our place on thrones as heirs.3
1 Russell D. Moore, Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2009), 43.
2 Ibid., 46.
3 Ibid., 50.