Romans 7:4 - So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
In the sermon yesterday, I talked about God's gift of being part of His family through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit. It's an identity that the world can't take from you. It's a knowledge that gives you strength to face troubles, illness, and struggles. It's a forever thing that helps us through the ups and downs of life, now.
That was the strength that made all the difference in the life of a woman who had seen heartache and pain, but came to know joy that could only come by knowing that she belonged to Jesus. Author Keith Miller shares the story of an outgoing 40-year-old woman who was part of a sharing group he led. Here's her story in her words:
"When I was a tiny little girl, my parents died and I was put in an orphanage. I was not pretty at all and no one seemed to want me. But I longed to be adopted and loved by a family, as far back as I can remember. I thought about it day and night, but everything I did seemed to go wrong.
"But then one day the head of the orphanage told me that a family was coming to take me home with them. I was so excited that I jumped up and down and cried like a little baby. The matron reminded me that I was on trial and this might not be a permanent arrangement, but I just knew that somehow it would work out.
"So I went with this family and started to school. I was the happiest little girl you can imagine, and life began to open up for me just a little bit. But then one day a few months later, I skipped home from school and ran into the front door of the big old house we lived in. No one was at home, but in the middle of the front hall was my battered suitcase with my little coat thrown across it. As I stood there it suddenly dawned on me what it meant: I didn't belong there anymore."
Miller reports that when the woman stopped speaking there was hardly a dry eye in the group. But then she cleared her throat and said almost matter-of-factly, "This happened to me seven times before I was 13 years old. But wait, don't feel too badly. It was experiences like these that ultimately brought me to God, and there I found what I had always longed for: a place, a sense of belonging, a forever family."
A forever family, a forever love, a forever grace. People ask me all the time, "What makes Christianity so special?" All I can say is when God does all things to reconcile you to Himself, to forgive your sins, to cover your shame, to call you to be His own through the sacrificial life, death, and resurrection of Jesus -- show me anything else that even comes close. That's what God has in store for you and me today, with a life that flows from belonging to Him. May that encourage you, today and always.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for doing all things well to make me a part of Your family. Give me strength to live in that joy now and forever. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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