I was the first one in my family to see my little sister. We adopted her when she was three months old, but I saw her when she was two months younger. I don't know why, but I knew she would be my sister. I even got my dad in hot water because when we returned to the mission camp that evening I told my mother that I had met my little sister. (My dad does a lot of mission work in Mexico a few times a year.) I have no clue why I knew that she was my sister, but somehow at 7 years old I knew. She might have been born to another family, but she belonged to mine.
Years later, after she was a Hagans, after she learned a southern accent and struggled with Spanish I can remember another memory her that has been burned into my mind. I was picking her up from a Young Life club in my gold Ford Tarus and could tell something was off with her. Looking back it might not have been anything major. Sometimes 14 year old girls just have off days. Sometimes we all do. We started to drive home and I asked her what she would have to do to make me not love her. After all she was a different color than me, she was adopted. I asked and she responded with the tongue-and-cheek type of answer that my whole family, save my mother, would have. I laughed and asked again. Over and over I asked the same question, "Dreamer, what would you have to do to make me not love you anymore?" Eventually she responded that there was nothing that she could ever do that would make me not love her. She could do things that could disappoint me, things that would hurt me, things that could make me mad or even heartbroken. But there is nothing that she could ever do or say or believe that would make me not love her.
I can remember that after this I went on to tell her that if this was true for me, a sinful person, an adopted big brother. How much more was that same statement true with Jesus, her other adopted big brother. So often we can look at Jesus and feel like we look different. As different as a Mexican girl in a white southern family. But that does not change the fact that there is nothing that we could ever do that would make Him stop loving us. I still don't know how I knew that Dreamer would be my little sister that hot summer day in Reynosa, Mexico, but I did. But I do know that the Bible tells me that before the foundations of the world Jesus knew that He would bring to Himself little brothers and little sisters from every backroad and slumtown that this world has to offer.
So many time I find myself at a loss for why He would do this. I can look at people throughout time and think, 'Yea, He would want them in His family, but not me.' So many times I find that I doubt that I could truly be His, truly be loved like that. So many times I need to be reminded that there is nothing that I could ever do to make my big brother stop loving me. When that happens, more often than not, I open up the book of Ephesians in the Bible and read the following:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
These are the words which give me hope. They tell me the truth that before the foundations of the world Jesus wanted me. I didn't just sneak into His family. It's not like Sunday Dinner was on the table and somehow I stole a plate. There has always been a seat for me at the table. And more than a seat, an inheritance. He has done more than give me the scraps, He lavishes it on me. This text in Ephesians even goes as far as to say that in all wisdom and insight he lavished His grace on me. He knew every sin I would commit. Every secret that would keep me awake at night was clear in His mind. And yet He still sought me out, like a little sickly girl in Mexico. I could do nothing to choose to be part of this heavenly family, yet I was adopted. I was brought in. I was made a brother, an heir with Jesus.
So if you are like me, open your Bible. Open it to Ephesians 1 and read it. Let it wash over you like a cool shower on a hot summer day. Let it warm you like the first cup of hot coffee on a cold winter morning. Read it. And read it again.
Ask the question, "Jesus, what would I have to do to make you stop loving me?" Hear the answer, "There is nothing that you could ever do to make me stop loving you." Hear the truth of the answer. And live your life as someone who is in the family, not someone trying to get an invitation to the table.