Orphans No More

Some of my favorite people are orphans. And of course they’re fictional characters. Anne Shirley, Harry Potter, Amy Pond, Frodo Baggins, Christine Daae, Dorothy Gale, Quasimodo, Lilo… throw in the functional orphans (hello, Eliza, Pippi, and Huck!), and you’ve got quite the crew ready to take on the world.

When I was little, the four siblings fending for themselves in an abandoned boxcar seemed so free, so romantic. No one made them eat their broccoli or go to bed while it was still light outside or wear horrible frilly socks to church. Lucky. They didn’t know how good they had it, cooling their milk in the stream and cleverly solving mysteries whenever they wanted to!

In my personal study time, I’ve recently been focusing on how God being our Father affects us. And, oh, it’s such a deep well full of good things. As I continue to learn and grow, I’ll flesh some more of it out for you, but today’s topic is about how even believers who have been adopted as children of God can have an orphan spirit.

Russell Moore shares the following story in Adopted for Life:

When my wife Maria and I at long last received the call that the legal process was over, and we returned to Russia to pick up our new sons, we found that their transition from orphanage to family was more difficult than we had supposed. We dressed the boys in outfits our parents had bought for them. We nodded our thanks to the orphanage personnel and walked out into the sunlight, to the terror of the two boys.

They’d never seen the sun, and they’d never felt the wind. They had never heard the sound of a car door slamming or had the sensation of being carried along at 100 miles an hour down a road. I noticed that they were shaking, and reaching back to the orphanage in the distance.

I whispered to Sergei, now Timothy, “That place is a pit! If only you knew what’s waiting for you: a home with a Mommy and a Daddy who love you, grandparents and great-grandparents and cousins and playmates and McDonald’s Happy Meals!”

But all they knew was the orphanage. It was squalid, but they had no other reference point. It was home.

How about you? Do you thrive in the security of the Father’s love for you, or are you living life as a functional orphan? The chart below is from Serge’s Sonship manual. Let’s take a little inventory, shall we?

I said “ouch” so many times as I read through this, and my journal response was that “I’m operating as though I’ve been abandoned by God even though it’s depressing, exhausting, and false.” I grew up in church—I know all the verses, every right answer. But we’re talking about a difference between head truth and heart truth here. Until what I know makes its way down to what I believe, what I know doesn’t make much of a difference in my everyday life. I might as well be on the street, looking out for myself.

CJ Mahaney says that if the words closeness, generosity, and affection don’t describe your relationship with God, it might be really helpful for you to spend some time digging in to His Father heart for you. And that would make two of us.

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