Though you are only two years old, before I know it, you will be learning all sorts of things. Of these, the ability to read will be one of the most important. Before you will ever read it, you will have heard the Lord’s Prayer many times: in the Service at God’s House and in our home. You will have it memorized long before you can sound out the words on the page. The Lord’s Prayer begins, “Our Father, Who art in heaven.” As you go through Christian education, you will hear the explanation of that line from Martin Luther’s Small Catechism many times. “God hereby tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father, and that we are His true children, so that we may ask Him with all boldness and confidence, as children ask their dear father.”
Our Heavenly Father provides for us through our earthly fathers. The greatest gift I can pass on to you, as a mere instrument of God, is the gift of God’s Word. In these formative years of your young life, the most important instruction I can give you is instruction in God’s Word. This is that you may know and believe that you are indeed God’s own child. You became a child of your heavenly Father in a most precious way. On April 26th of 2014, the very first day we received you into our care, you were baptized into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Though that baptism took place thousands of miles away in a Hong Kong hotel room, it has an everlasting effect no matter where you go or how long you live. You have been clothed with Christ. You have been forgiven of your sins. You have been made a child of the Heavenly Father.
My prayer for you is twofold: that your earthly father who loves you inexpressibly would fulfill the duty of father by making your connection to the saving Word and Sacraments the most important thing in your life, and that our gracious Heavenly Father would protect you from all spiritual harm until eternal life. In these formative years, nothing matters more than this. Just as nothing will matter more than this no matter what age you are. May God grant me the strength and wisdom to impress this upon you now that you may have a firm foundation!
As you grow, my prayer for you is that you ever learn and grow in confidence in boldly asking your Heavenly Father for what you need. May you boldly ask Him for forgiveness. May you boldly ask Him for salvation. May you boldly ask Him for comfort. May you boldly ask Him for strength. As you grow older you will realize more and more how much you need these things. Because of the life and death of His own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, He will grant such things to you.
One day you will be able to sing, “God’s own child I gladly say it,” hopefully with your mom’s musical talent and not mine, and it will be true. And it will be the greatest comfort you will ever know. You belong. You belong to me because you are my son. You belong to God because He chose you from eternity, predestined you in Christ Jesus, to be His child and an heir of paradise, and marked you as His own in the waters of Holy Baptism in a little hotel room in Hong Kong.
God’s own child; that is what you are.
David Locklair serves as Pastor of Richland Lutheran Church (ELS) of Thornton, IA and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (WELS) of Mason City, IA. David and his wife of seven years, Kallie, adopted their son, Jahleel, from Hong Kong in April of this year. The Locklairs have one other member in their household – Jackie the doxle (beagle/dachshund mix). They enjoy family walks and yelling their heads off for the Indianapolis Colts (David) and Green Bay Packers (Kallie).
Please note: In order to retain the privacy of this family during the finalization of the adoption, the photo used above is not the author's family but rather a representation of.