Living the Gospel

by Kelly McGee
I enjoy my projects. I’m very task oriented. So when the season of becoming an “empty nester” came around I was very much looking forward to additional free time to do whatever I wanted. But God had other plans. I couldn’t shake the feeling I would be consumed with self and be no good to anyone. The sermons and God’s Word kept challenging me to think more outward and less inward. In our Friday morning men’s group we read several books that challenged us to be “radical” in our faith from the standpoint of being “sold out”. Totally committed to whatever God would send my direction. Even our community group did a series that challenged us as followers of Christ that, “if anyone is willing to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”. I was hearing the message but had no idea what the plan was.

About that time my middle child was a speech therapist by trade. You know her as Caitlin. She would frequent an elementary school regularly to work with kids. There was a county shelter for kids without a home nearby that would bus their occupants to the school. A particular 8 year old grabbed her fancy and her heart. His name was Randon. Knowing he had nowhere to celebrate Easter, she obtained permission to bring him home for the day.

We had fostered in the past when our kids were young and it was very rewarding and yet very trying. We had been moving in the direction of adopting a child we fostered for several years and it appeared to be a done deal. It fell through at the last minute and that experience hit the heart strings pretty hard. So the proposition of that happening again wasn’t very inviting. But then you would have to know who I’m married to. Between my wife and daughter, I could see this moving in a certain direction. We organized several other opportunities for Randon to come and spend extended time with us. Pretty soon that message we had been hearing began ringing in our ears. What does it look like for us to “love others” and “live the gospel”? At times it seems like we don’t have much to offer, but we now had spare bedrooms and free time. I could see in my wife’s eyes she was “all in”. That’s how she rolls. Because of the prep work God had done in me, the question moved from, “Do you really want to go through this again?” to, “How can we not do this again?” Welcome home Randon.

One of the things that has struck me about Randon since adopting him as our son, is how much we are alike. Being in the foster system and in and out of shelters for his first eight years, Randon came with no sense of permanence, security, significance, value, or importance. Having been there myself, it’s been interesting watching him transition. It’s hard to miss the parallels with the Gospel. I was once a stranger but now I’m a son (Adoption). I deserved God’s wrath but the penalty has been paid on my behalf and He now calls me friend (Propitiation). I was unable to obtain to His perfection but God made a way and gave me His righteousness. I’m in a relationship with the Father! (Justification).  I felt worthless but He has paid a great price to make me whole (Redeemed). I continue to struggle and fail, yet He is patient and committed to work with me until the work is done (Sanctification). I can’t help but believe these identity truths are there for us all, waiting for us to appropriate them for ourselves.

Randon’s siblings, who were all in on this endeavor with us, have been amazing to give him something he has never had before. Family. At times he struggles to not allow the past to dictate current behavior, and so do I. As he and I journey forward together, may we enjoy the work that has been done for us and to us by God. May we come to know the depths of the riches of His love. May we by faith believe who God is and the redemptive work He has done on our behalf. And may what we become be driven by the unfailing love of Christ. There is much work to be done, but we stand on that great truth that He will never leave us or forsake us. We are not alone!