First Samuel chapter one chronicles Hannah’s cries to God for a son and God’s faithfulness to provide a child. Hannah’s story—in part—became our family’s story. Hannah named her son Samuel, because she said, “I requested him from the Lord.”
Our sweet daughter-in-law was diagnosed with colon cancer in the first year of marriage to our youngest son. We were devastated for Jeff and Diana. Her prognosis was serious, and her survival was not at all certain.
We had teased them about moving closer to our home in Arkansas, but they were happy in St. Louis, not far from where our son grew up. Only in hindsight did we see God’s plan: He gave them a heart to be exactly where Diana could receive care from an oncologist who specialized in colorectal cancer and a surgeon who specialized in colorectal surgery. As their critical knowledge and skills led to Diana’s recovery, our families, church families, and friends rejoiced and praised God with us for answering our prayers.
Jeff and Diana were heartbroken, but not surprised, to learn that she would not be able to bear a child. So even while we continued to praise God for her healing, we began praying that they would be able to have a child to love.
Years later, last August, they received the long-awaited call from their adoption agency. A mother had chosen them to adopt her child. We wept and praised God again for his kindness and grace to us. He needed his new parents; he just didn’t know it. Scrawny—a mere three pounds, he had blackened eyes, bruises around his neck and 15 inches of a tiny head, rib cage, arms and legs. He was the most beautiful baby in the world. Perfect and precious. God filled our hearts with love and our eyes overflowed with love.
How is it that God can do that for us? How can he draw us to adore someone unknown? Unseen? Simply because he’s ours. Our son. Our grandson. God has understood this before the foundation of the earth. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 1:4-5 that “long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ” (The Message).
Just imagine it. God had decided to love us before he even created us. How can it be that God would do this for us? In spite of my scrawny, tiny Christian life, God himself has settled on me as the focus of his love. He decided to adopt me because I would need him and not even know it. What a Heavenly Father, who would answer my prayers long before I knew how to pray. What a God to have a heart for adoption—of us all.
Diane Blackwood serves on the Prayer Task Force of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and is an active leader in Womens Missionary Union at Family Church in Jonesboro and Mount Zion Association.