Orphan Thinking

ORPHAN_DAVIDWhen my eight-year-old son, David, is praying  at bedtime, he frequently offers up an appeal to God on behalf of the orphans. He first thanks God that he’s not an orphan, that God has placed him into a family. Then he prays that God would gather up the orphans of the world and put them into families, too.

PRAYER_TIMEDavid has a gift of compassion. He seems able to  put himself in the shoes of suffering people and imagine how they must feel. And he doesn’t want them to hurt any more, so he asks God to help them.

I told David that God is sharing His heart of compassion with him. God cares deeply about orphans. And He wants us to care for them, too.

God extends His compassion through people who are moved by His love to receive the orphan into their hearts and into their homes.

I thought about how our Heavenly Father is stirring the hearts of His children to walk with Him through the fields of the fatherless, gathering up all the orphans like a great harvest, and placing them into families.

All this reflection on the heart of God for the orphan made me think about the reality of our spiritual adoption. Through Jesus, God opens His heart to us, and receives us into His household. He happily bestows on us all of the benefits and privileges of sons and daughters. Our spiritual adoption is a truth so staggering and wonderful that we can scarcely believe it. Sometimes, we don’t believe it fully.

So we live like orphans. And it breaks God’s heart.

Someone once suggested a searching test question that I’ve never forgotten. Sure, you believe God loves you, but is he fond of you? I don’t know about you, but when I first posed that question to myself, I hesitated before answering. And then I responded affirmatively, but rather coolly, as if I were filling out a religious questionnaire. I wasn’t feeling it.

To be honest, I felt tolerated. God was willing to put up with me, but He was none too happy about it. I was related to God by some legal technicality, but I wasn’t a favored son. This kind of thinking–the orphan mindset–is a hideous, hell-born deception straight from the father of lies. And it grieves our Father’s heart.

I will explore the staggering truth of our spiritual adoption next time. Until then, I just wanted to let you know that “God loves you” is so much more than a bumper sticker generality. God loves you particularly. And God is very fond of you. I mean, you have no idea.

Are you living like a spiritual orphan?

6 thoughts on “Orphan Thinking

  1. Yes – only I didn’t have the label. I think my subconscious processed things in a human way – (most) human parents love all their children, but may favor the one most like them or most not like them or that behaves in a way the like. At times I have felt that because I’m not as ‘good’ a Christian as others that I may not be heard as well. Well, not heard – listened to. Or worthy of being listened to. It’s complicated.

    • I followed right along with your complicated explanation. You expressed very well our tendency to project human experiences and expectations upon God, allowing those things to shape the way we think about our relationship with Him. We’ve been around the block a few times in this world. We’ve become familiar with how relationships work on a human level, and what we’ve learned from experience can become a filter for understanding our Father-child relationship with God. Meditating on the real truth of our spiritual adoption–in community with others–is my attempt to remove that filter. Thank you for helping me in the de-filtering process by contributing your valuable input.

  2. Dave, I didn’t get a chance to stop by yesterday. What a thought provoking post. Thank you. The whole thought of God being fond of me sometimes drops me to my spiritual knees. When I fall short, I find it hard to believe this truth because I see myself as I think God sees me, rather than trying to believe what He says about how He sees me, if that makes sense.

    A couple of verses God has given me have helped me to better understand and embrace the fact that He is fond of me. He says He delights in me. In Jeremiah, He says He’s loved me with an everlasting love, and then in Zephaniah, He says He quiets me with His love and He rejoices over me with singing. These verses are becoming anchors as I learn to identify myself in Jesus and the truths He’s shared about how He sees me.

    Anyway, I’m rambling. A lot. But these are the thoughts that came to mind as I read. I’m looking forward to your next installment!

    • “When I fall short, I find it hard to believe this truth because I see myself as I think God sees me”
      Yes! We view our Father’s love through the distorted lens of our performance and the filter of our own response to our performance. When we’re disappointed with ourselves, we imagine God must be disappointed. When we become disgusted with ourselves, we imagine God is disgusted with us. It’s easy for me to imagine God with a frowning countenance, arms folded, and shaking His head at me. That image is a projected fiction.
      The Scriptures you cite offer the reality that we can gladly embrace by faith–God’s delight in us, His pleasure in us, His rejoicing over us. He loves us just as He loves His Son. Thanks, Jeanne, for helping me to enter more deeply into the truth of our spiritual adoption.

  3. Great post, and my apologies for being away for a bit. Life has been interesting…as in the famous Chinese curse. LOVE the drawing, the kid with the bowl. You’re good. You…are…goood!

    I think that perhaps The Man gauges His disappointment in our lack-of-acceptance by who we are. I’m Asian, and we are not the most emotive people. Also, I’m a trained – and effective – long rifleman. It’s a profession that, to put it mildly, requires some pretty strict controls on ‘feeling’.

    That said, I think God is delighted with the relationship we have. I’ll never be one of Heaven’s ‘insiders’, at least not without a lot of reconstructive surgery on my soul.

    That’s OK. Everyone else can be doing the praise and worship thing on the streets of gold, and I’ll be on the bunker line, on scope.

    Works for me, and I think it works for God, too. I’ve got my sector, and He’s got my back.

    • Welcome back! Thanks so much for your feedback.

      I take great comfort in the fact that God knows us even better than we do. He knows how He has designed us. He knows our histories. He knows our trauma. He knows where we’re broken. He knows our failings. And He loves us anyway.

      Because Jesus knows us, and we know Jesus, we’re ALL insiders 🙂

      And you are so right. God will always have your back.

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