Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ....and you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:3-10; 13-14. Chosen - God created us, yet He chooses to pursue us. He chases after us so that he can redeem us from our sin and we can become his heirs. He loved us before we were ever even thought of by our parents, before time ever began (Psalm 139) he knew everything there is to know about us down to the number of hairs on our heads. His love is so great for us that he desires relation with us, wants us to become his sons and daughters and he loves us enough to let that be our choice. He never turns away no matter how much we slander, provoke, curse or disappoint him. He loves us so much that he sent his one and only son to die to be the deposit guaranteeing the redemption of our souls so that we may have eternal life with him. Wow. Think about that. That is a great God and there is no other love like that. Praise Him! I can't help but think about these passages as we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord-oh what a glorious day! Today, the Compton family has another reason to celebrate. Today, in an African court, we were legally declared the parents of Emmanuel James Compton! We have a new heir in our family. And although we have never met our son, never held him, never heard him speak or seen his smile our love for him is just as great as it is for our daughters. We will love him equally, raise him the same and have the same hopes and dreams for him that we do for our girls. The love for our son is overwhelming. We would lay down our lives for him. Oh what a glorious day! Praise the Lord for this great gift of life that he has chosen to bless us with. If you've ever heard my testimony (Kathy), this won't be new to you. If you are in Rob's class on Wednesday night and you were present last week, this won't be new to you. But, if neither of the things above apply to you, I've got a story to tell you. I am not one to journal and I am not one to write-so for me to do this, means God is laying it on my heart to share-just as I shared it verbally last Wednesday even though I hate to speak in front of others. I hope it speaks to someone.
In 2002, Rob and I had been asked to prepare a prayer walk on the new land purchased by our church for our new building. When we finished walking the property and figuring out what the different prayer stations should consist of, we got in the car. I looked over and my husband sat there with tears streaming down his face. In a broken voice, he merely said "I have to go." I said I know. With a puzzled look, he asked me what I thought I knew. I said, "I know you have to go to Africa. Go, have a great time and I'll see you when you get home. There's no way I am going to Africa!" The thought of going there scared me to death. I didn't know the land, didn't know the language and quite frankly had never really been around many people of different ethnicity. I wanted no part of it. But, over the course of one year, God had my sitting on a plane next to my husband headed to Kampala, Uganda. After the very intimidating arrival at Entebbe Airport, I fell in love almost instantly. As we drove away from the airport with friends that we were visiting, we began to see very young children walking along side the road. They were dirty, barefoot, malnourished and seemingly unsupervised. I asked our friend Dodd why there were so many young children out in the middle of nowhere walking alone and to my dismay, he answered that most of them were orphaned and in the particular area we were in if they were not adopted or dead by the age of 5 they were kicked out of the orphanage due to overcrowding. Age 5! These babies were having to make due any way they could just to survive. They were beautiful, yet empty and sad. They ran along side the van laughing and screaming out the Ugandan term for "white person". They would wave and smile and they brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to scoop them all up and bring them home. It was at this moment that my heart was softened for the orphan. What my husband had seen in New Delhi India two years earlier, I now understood. And, thus began our initial calling to adopt. When we read Ephesians 1 last Wednesday, this story flashed before my eyes, but it went back even farther. Very early in our marriage, in 1993, Rob and I moved to Wilmington, NC for his job. There we met a couple who would become very good friends of ours...Dodd and Whitney Mays.
The Mays, in 2002 became missionaries to Uganda-and the couple we would be visiting when we went. So, regardless of our knowing how God was working in our lives, He had ordained us to move to NC, to meet the Mays, to travel to Uganda and to fall in love with the people of Africa. We were fortunate enough to return to Africa several years later, but not to Uganda. God willing, I pray I get to go there again some day. And, even though our son is not from Uganda or Kenya (the two places we have been), he is from a continent that I fell in love with many years ago. God's hand is always at work...even when we can not see the big picture. Today, I thank God for a risen Savior, I thank Him that he chose our family to be the parents of Emmanuel, I thank Him that there is one less orphan in the world today, one less nameless child that He created. I thank Him most of all that He chose me to be His child and to give me a name and an inheritance and I pray the same for you!