By David Platt
It was February 15, and we had just landed in Kazakhstan. We were greeted at the airport by our translator. She directed my wife and me to a taxi, where we all took our seats to ride to the orphanage.
“What kind of work do you do?” our translator asked.
“I’m a pastor,” I said.
She responded, “A pastor? Why are you a pastor? Don’t you know that there is no such thing as God?”
I replied, “Well, I would beg to differ with you.”
Such was the beginning of a long conversation that lasted until we came to the orphanage. Upon arrival, we left our conversation behind to focus on the moment ahead. My wife and I were about to be introduced to our first son, Caleb.
We were ushered into a small room where a nurse in the orphanage met us. She shared all sorts of medical information with us about Caleb.
And then it happened.
A woman rounded the corner with a precious ten-month-old boy in her hands. Words cannot adequately describe the immediate swell of emotions that enveloped the room. The woman handed him to my wife, and then to me, and for the first time, Caleb looked into the eyes of a mom and a dad.
The next four weeks were filled with all the work and paperwork needed to make Caleb’s adoption official. These days were also filled with a multiplicity of conversations with our translator about the gospel. We explained to her how God, in His inexpressibly holy love, sent His Son to live the life we could not live and die the death we deserve to die so that everyone who trusts in Him can be reconciled to God as His child. We shared how, by God’s grace, we had been adopted into His family, to know Him as Father and enjoy Him as friend. We told her that this was the motivation behind our wanting to adopt Caleb. Adoption was an expression in our lives of the gospel in our hearts.
She listened . . . and she watched. Over four weeks, she heard us talk about the gospel, and over four weeks, she watched us live out the gospel (albeit an imperfect demonstration at times!).
And then it happened.
It was our last night in Caleb’s city, and as we prepared to board the plane, our translator pulled me aside. “I need to tell you something,” she said.
“OK,” I replied, “what is it?”
“Last night, I trusted in Jesus to save me from myself and my sins. I believe that He is the Lord.” Then she said with excitement, “Now I am a child of God!”
A smile swept across my face. I rejoiced with her, encouraged her, and shared with her some initial steps that she could begin to take as a Christian. Time was short, though, and the plane was ready to leave. So I picked up Caleb, and as my wife and I boarded the plane, we looked back, holding a child in our arms while waving good-bye to a child in His arms.
The gospel and adoption are beautifully woven together by the gracious hand of God. In Christ, God has shown His love to us as our Father. He has reached down His hand of mercy to us in the loneliness of our sin, and He has raised us up as members of His family. Consequently, one of the clearest displays of the gospel in this life is when redeemed men and women extend a hand of mercy to children in need and bring them into their families.
I am grateful for Tony Merida and Rick Morton. Tony and I have been good friends for many years, and the power of the gospel is clear in this man’s life, family, and ministry. Rick was there when my wife and I first started contemplating adoption, and I can still remember sitting in the Mortons’ home listening to them share the ups and downs, joys and struggles of adoption.
These two brothers know the gospel, and these two brothers know adoption. I am grateful for the time and energy they have put into making this invaluable book available to us. In the pages ahead, you will find strong biblical foundations, warm personal illustrations, and clear practical exhortations. I am confident that as you read, you will find yourself continually captivated by the love of the Father in heaven and ultimately compelled to show His love to the fatherless on earth.