The little boy stood at the traffic lights looking forlorn, unkempt, and decidedly worn out. He was one of the most compassionate evoking ragamuffins the world had ever seen. He started out the day by begging with his rough, calloused, and dirty hands held to his mouth indicating he was hungry. Some passersby gave him a few coins here and there; others turned their faces away not willing to glance at him. They did not want to feel guilty. At the end of the day, he sat on the kerb, weak and hungry, almost defeated.
“Would he have enough money to buy a loaf of bread and maybe even something to drink?”
“Where would he sleep tonight? The pavements were hard and cold”
He had lost his parents a couple of years ago to Aids. His “gogo” had taken him in and had tended to him until her death a couple of months ago. The rest of the family had tried to look after him but they had very limited means and were resentful at the extra mouth they had to feed. They often beat him and treated him as a slave: someone to do the unwanted chores and tasks of the day. He learned to fend for himself becoming tough on the outside but oh, on the inside, his heart ached with a longing to be loved, accepted and to belong to someone who truly cared.
One morning a truck pulled up to the traffic lights with a kind looking couple who told him they were from an orphanage and wanted to take him with them. He could not quite believe what he was hearing.
“Were they for real? Would they take him away and sell him to the highest bidder?”
He had heard so many horror stories.
“Could he, dare he trust them? Would he take the risk?”
He was so weary, exhausted, and desperate. He made up his mind then and there that he would take that risk; he couldn’t carry on anymore. He found himself agreeing to go with them.
Life at the orphanage was so much better than being on the streets. He had a mattress to sleep on, a plate of food to eat at least once a day, and a bath. There were many other children in that orphanage. They often scrambled to get into the line to get their meal or to take a bath. They fought to get attention when visitors appeared. They did not trust easily and would often hoard food, toys, or gifts so very fearful that there would not be enough for the next day. The little boy was happy but still afraid he would be sent back to the streets, so he worked hard to get all his chores done in record time, always enquiring of the house parents whether he could do more.
One day his housemother called the younger children together.
“We are going to have visitors this morning. A man and his wife are looking to adopt a child. Please be on your best behaviour”
That longing to be loved, cared for, accepted, to belong rose up in that little boy again so strongly that it felt like physical pain in his heart.
‘Please God, please, if you exist would you let them take me home with them?”
The moment the couple set eyes on him they knew this was the child God wanted them to adopt. It was as simple as that.
A couple of months later the little boy found himself sitting on his adopted father’s lap.
“Raymond. I’ve told you and I’m telling you again that we love you dearly. I will keep telling you again and again till you believe it. There is more than enough food, attention, and love to go around. You are just as valuable as your sister”
The little boy struggled to believe this and would often carry on as if he was still that ragamuffin on the streets or the orphan in the orphanage. He would contend with his sister to be the focus of attention, and, would compete with her in everything. He would hoard food in his cupboard that was stacked amply with new clothes, books, shoes, and toys. He would gobble his food down at the table as if he had not had breakfast that morning. He would fight to get to his parents first before his sister did. He would perform and carry out chores to make sure that his adopted parents would not send him back to that orphanage. He excelled at school wanting his new parents to be proud of him and his achievements. He loved it here. These thoughts would come uninvited into his mind:
“I have to be good, I have to measure up. I have to prove that I’m worthy of being chosen, of being adopted. I have to show them that I’m better than this new sister. If I don’t, they’ll send me back.”
Time and time again his adopted father would take him, put him on his lap, lean that little head on his chest, and reassure him that he was loved, valuable, treasured beyond measure, and that they would never send him back ever. He was their little boy now. Nothing he did or did not do would stop them from loving him.
One day as the orphan sat on his father’s lap, he looked intently into his father’s eyes seeing so much love but pain and sadness at the same time. The orphan wanted to erase that sadness away. For the first time, he addressed his adopted father as “daddy”.
“Why are you so sad?”
Daddy‘s eyes widened with surprise and delight:
“Raymond I feel sad when I see you don’t know how much I love you when you don’t believe that I will take care of you. I feel heart sore when I see you trying so hard to earn my love when it’s already yours”.
Raymond took his head off his daddy’s shoulders, grasped his daddy’s face in his little hands and said:
‘Daddy I believe you now. I love you too!”
God laid this picture and story of the orphan today as I was praying. I felt Him saying:
“My children, you are like that orphan, you run around trying to fend for yourselves, worried, anxious, and fearful. You strive, compete, compare, hoard, and perform. I have adopted you into my family. You are mine. I have told you I will not leave you as orphans. I have sent my Holy Spirit to teach, comfort, and show you my Father’s heart of love for you. Will you believe me? Will you trust that I can and will take care of you especially in the season you are in? I long for you to know and experience my unfailing, never-ending love for you?”
The choice is ours today. Will we carry on as that little boy did or will we become like Raymond sitting on our Abba’s lap, head on his chest knowing we are loved, valued, and treasured? We do not know what the future holds, there is much to come that we are uncertain of, but we do know the One who promises us that He will never leave us or forsake us. We do know that:
“Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” ( Romans8:38-39 KJV.)