Ross family
Missions Discipleship

When Life Isn’t a Walk in the Park (Gal. 4)

George Ross, a North American Mission Board Send Relief missionary in New Orleans, gives us three passages of Scripture that have been instrumental in the life and ministry of his family. We’ll read through each passage and explore how each one impacts us as we read it.


When was the last time you had a quiet moment to yourself? It’s important to make space for quiet moments. They are often the times when God speaks most clearly. If you’re not used to silence, challenge yourself to observe 3 whole minutes of silence (set an alarm if needed!). If you’re a veteran silence-user, try to limit your time to 20 minutes. You’ve got things you have to do! You can’t sit around all day!


Open your Bible and take a moment to read James 1:22–27.

God doesn’t need anyone else to join the chorus of folks paying Him lip service day in and day out. He is searching for people like you who are willing to act on their faith, willing to be “doers of the word” not just “hearers.”

For the Ross family, James 1:27 inspired in them a way to do more than simply have faith in their own hearts. This verse compelled them to live out their faith in a real and tangible way.

Maybe you feel called to foster care and adoption. Or maybe you feel called to something else, like leading and teaching your student group.

The point here is that you identify how God is stirring your heart as you read these words and then make a plan to do something about it.

The book of James is full of action and movement. It is not a book for the passive! If Christ has truly come to redeem the world and everyone in it, we can either believe it and be a part of that change or not. There is no in-between. And so it should be with each of us.

Write down what you plan to do with this new sense of calling and tape it to your bathroom mirror. Let it be a reminder to you each morning that you are called to a special purpose and nothing need keep you from fulfilling the task our Lord has put before you!


Now that we’re on the path to living out our faith in a tangible way, let’s take a look at the power behind this movement. (Spoiler alert: The power doesn’t come from you!)

Open your Bible and read Galatians 4:4–6.

This is the main verse we’ll be focusing on with the students, but it’s important for you to spend time with this passage before you hand it over to the kids to discuss.

That adoption language hits this month’s focus right on the nose, doesn’t it? We are able to do extraordinary things because of our status as adopted sons and daughters of our Father in heaven.

We are justified through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who has provided a way for us to be in right relationship with a holy God. Because of this adoption, we are no longer slaves to our own sin, nor are we slaves to the old laws and covenants.

A new covenant has been made and Christ is at the very center of it. This news should be empowering and it should also be humbling. It wasn’t because of anything we did that we are seen as redeemed in the eyes of God. We were picked up and added to the family while we were still content with our own vices.

This is a message we and our students need to hear. Christ has brought you into the family just as you are. You are loved and you are an heir to eternal life. What an incredible gift!


We’ve been inspired to action and had our perspectives renewed, and now we’re ready to set out on the journey! But let’s be real, if you don’t have sustenance for the road ahead, you might not make it.

George Ross shares this final passage of Scripture with us as a parting gift. Take a moment now and read Psalm 18:1–2.

Foster care and adoption isn’t always a walk in the park. Life in general isn’t always a walk in the park. It takes grit and determination to meet each challenge head on.

We know we’ll never get to where we’re going on our own power, so it’s nice to know we have an advocate on our side! God will provide the strength we need when we need it. God will help us see a way forward when it seems like no way is possible.

This passage is one that is best used when memorized. Read these words over and over until you have them emblazoned on your heart. They will come in handy when difficult times come. Encourage your students to do the same when they encounter this verse in the lesson.


As we end our leadership devotional time together, remember that God loves you and has chosen you for a special purpose.

Don’t be afraid to let your faith show in your day-to-day life.

The faith that’s pleasing to God is one that actually transforms the bearer into someone who is sold out for God in everything they do. We have the ability and opportunity to do this because of our status as adopted sons and daughters of the most high and holy God.

The road may be difficult and full of challenges, but God will make a way where there is no way. You can count on that!

Zachariah Seanor serves as the ministry consultant for Challengers and Youth on Mission and co-editor for Missions Journey: Students at national WMU. Zachariah enjoys seeing people joining together in God’s mission and realizing we are all a valuable part of the kingdom of God.