Just imagine trying to explain to a group of orphans that God is their heavenly Father. Father? What’s that?
Many of them have no recollection of a father. So, at best, he’s a distant notion. A vacancy. A mystery tinged with sorrow.
Others do remember their fathers, and for most of them, the connotation is even more negative. He was likely abusive, neglectful, angry.
So why in the world would they want anything to do with a God who describes Himself as their Father?
Faced with this dilemma, I asked a group of orphans in Sobinka, Russia to describe the ideal father. “What would he be like, this father, if he were absolutely perfect?”
Their answers were enlightening. They didn’t mention that he’d play catch with them in the yard, or coach their soccer team, or let them drive his car. No, in their bravest dreams, they imagined something much simpler.
“He would live in an apartment and let me live there, too,” one said.
“He would give me food,” chimed in another.
“Good!” I encouraged the feedback. “Anything else?”
They looked at each other blankly. What more could they want?
Seconds ticked by.
At last, with some prodding and a bit of leading, they agreed that the perfect dad would not hurt a mom and would maybe even defend the family if it were being attacked by a violent robber.
I was in a tough spot. To raise their expectations of God was to further disappoint them in their earthly fathers. But I wanted desperately for them to know how richly they are loved.
“Imagine a Dad who has—not just an apartment, but a mansion!” I said. “And He not only lets you live there, but wants you to be sharing the very best room with Him, because He always wants you nearby. He just loves having you close!”
“He’s a great chef and feeds you just what you need every day. Sometimes it’s the most amazing stuff you’ve ever tasted. Sometimes, you don’t like it so much. But it’s what’s best for you, so He helps you get it down. He wants you to grow and be healthy.”
“He gives you good advice and helps you with your problems,” I added.
“Now imagine He shares everything He has with you…His car, His family, His time. THAT is the Father the Bible talks about, and He’s not pretend. He’s real, and you are His child.”
As we celebrate Father’s Day this month, please thank God for the good fathers in our homes and churches who represent God’s love well. Pray also for the Fatherless, that they would have the audacity to believe they are loved by an extravagant Father who calls them beloved.
Please also remember these specific praises and requests from The Boaz Project:
-Thank God for the financial gifts given to help launch our new partnership with El Shaddai Children’s Center in Kenya.
-Continue to pray for the girls from Daya Vihar Girls’ Home. You may remember that we asked prayer for a number of these girls who were being returned to their home state, Jarkhand, though they had no support from family and did not even know the language there! We now need prayer for the rest of the girls, as well, since the department of social services has closed the home. We are continuing to provide for them, but the disruption and financial strain are extreme.
-Please ask God to bring us short-term team members who are passionate about ministering to orphans in Russia, India and Kenya!
Thank you for remembering these needs before the throne of our heavenly Father!