A Hope Deferred: Adoption and the Fatherhood of God by J. Stephen Yuille
“God’s love is never self-serving. That means he doesn’t need to love us, nor does he need us to love him. Simply put, he doesn’t gain anything from loving us. That realization shouldn’t disturb us or offend us. On the contrary, it should comfort us, because that’s the kind of love we need [unconditional]. We need someone to love us that actually doesn’t need us [conditional].
God has that kind of love in himself. And here is the wonderful thing: he lavishes it upon his children. We don’t need to earn God’s love. We don’t need to merit God’s love. We don’t need to worry that God’s love for us will change. We don’t need to worry that God’s love for us is contingent upon our performance. Why? God’s love is merciful, and it’s the whole reason why he adopted us.”
When the author and his wife discovered they may never conceive a child, they decided to adopt one or more children. But the process was not without its twists and turns and what should have taken only a couple of years stretched out for 17 years. These experiences inspired J. Stephen Yuille to explore the parallels and contrasts between human adoption and our adoption by our heavenly Father. So this book has two purposes. One is to celebrate our adoption by God, an act of unconditional love and unchanging goodness on His part. The second is to strengthen and encourage others in their struggles, especially those grappling with infertility and adoption issues.
God has purposely placed us in His “family” with all the rights and privileges of that family. The author explores the six blessings of our adoption into God’s family according to Romans chapter 8. In the even numbered chapters of this 14 chapter book, he and his wife recount their extended adoption story. In the odd numbered chapters, he uses the space for exegetical exploration of each of the blessings. In light of the first blessing he ponders how God could “turn a depraved sinner into a privileged son”, then delves into Romans 8:1-4–how our sins are cleansed. He follows suit with the five other blessings in the remaining chapters.
Mr. Yuille’s writing style is more like a Bible lesson in lecture format than it is prose. His strength is not so much as a storyteller but as an excellent Bible teacher. For such a small book, only 151 pages, the author packs quite a wallop into each of his expositions. Each chapter is only about five pages long on average but is packed full of pithy biblical truth. He uses examples such as C.S. Lewis’ character of Eustace in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, an unexpected pregnancy, or a rock making ripples in a pond to illustrate his point or to show us God’s unchanging goodness. He quotes from quite a few sources which he lists at the end of the book in the Notes section.
I get the impression that this author is one of those persons that I have always loved to take notes from. Ever since one of my Junior High teachers taught his classes how to outline a text book (which translated into note taking), I have enjoyed taking notes in outline form. It is a form of mental “visualization” that I discovered helped me to remember important points in the text. I used the method when I was in college along with creating illustrations, and later with church sermons (although not every pastor can teach in a style that makes that conducive). Mr. Yuille includes the use of lists in his book: three points of one thing, four parts of another. For example, in the first chapter he explains adoption, “In [Ephesians 1:3-6] we discover six wonderful truths about the biblical doctrine of adoption, specifically that: adoption is rooted in love; predetermined; through Jesus Christ; according to the purpose of God’s will; to the praise of God’s glorious grace; and fixed (or embedded) in union with Christ.” In that way, the writing is intense, and he is able to fit a lot of material into a small space.
Fortunately, our adoption from God is not very much like human attempts to adopt children. While on the surface they may seem similar, the likeness is shallow. Human adoption can be a harrowing experience. And while we may search everywhere else to find fulfillment except the adoption into God’s family, when we finally lean completely on Him, He makes it easy for us to be adopted because He has done all the work. We can trust Him completely. The gratification we receive from our adopted family members is warm and satisfying, but it is only a shadow of the completeness and joy we experience when we are adopted by God. I find that immensely comforting.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews and Shepherd Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
- God’s Love for His Children (birdog14.wordpress.com)