From Tony: This is a story from my friend Jason, who is learning a lot after recently adopting a beautiful boy from Japan. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, you can find out more here.
Driving around to another appointment, my son was ecstatic that we had been to Wal-Mart and found a snack that he used to enjoy in Japan (little panda cookies with strawberry filling).
It’s been a good two months since we brought Mizuki home from the orphanage he had been in all his life. Being part of a family in a new place has been a big adjustment, but I know he’s truly beginning to see us as home.
I said something about “Japan” as he was eating his snack and Mizuki repeated.
“You want to go back to Japan?” I asked.
“Japan,” he repeated again. “Mizuki…” and then he quickly adds, “Papa, Mama, Noah, Wesley, Alicia…”
I knew exactly what that was about though. He wants to go to Japan and visit, but still fears that we are going to drop him off somewhere. He believes if the whole family is there, he can be secure. He makes sure to say everyone’s name because according to his thinking, “if I don’t say this exactly right, I could lose it all.”
Sadly, this same orphan thinking works its way into the Church. We have false presuppositions and assumptions about God and His care for us. We listen to the enemy who continues to tell us that our position is insecure, that if we don’t pray or do things exactly right, God won’t respond or will leave us. Our own personal wounds or lack of understanding chime in to echo in agreement.
To settle this issue we need a constant reminder that He is a good Father and knows us better than we know ourselves.
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” –Matthew 6:7-8 (emphasis mine)
Jesus then goes on to model a prayer for us–one that honors the Father and sets the standard for how we live out our communication with Him. He makes no mention of being sure to include just the right words or God won’t hear you. He doesn’t say, “if you’re asking the Father for healing, you had better have 16 different verses on the subject ready if you want Him to listen.”
He’s not a boss that we are trying to convince that we are worthy of a raise. He’s our Father. Many Christians are wearing themselves out as they try to cover all their bases or attempting to force God with enough supporting evidence and the Father is saying, “don’t worry about this. I love you and I’m watching over my word to complete it.”
My son may feel that he’s one step away from being “sent back,” but in my mind, there is nothing further from the truth and I tell him as much repeatedly.
Until my son’s understanding grows and our relationship deepens, his fears will cause him to doubt my intentions.
I can’t imagine a single thing that would cause me to abandon him. If that’s my position as an earthly father, then how about our perfect heavenly Father?
And if it weren’t enough that our Father is exceedingly good, loving, and faithful–Jesus the Son lives making intercession on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25). He stands as our Mediator and makes sure that God’s ultimate purposes are fulfilled.
We can embrace our identity as sons instead of constantly looking over our shoulder or fretting we haven’t measured up. We can tell from scripture how Jesus lived and thought as a son. How wonderful will it be when our prayers can align with Jesus’ in John 17:10? “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine…”
It is then that we’ll live in that singularity and oneness of heart and mind that He has provided for us.
Have you ever felt the pressure to “say it just right”?
How do you remind yourself that God is your loving Father and guard against orphan thinking?
Jason is a guy who loves Jesus, his wife, and his kids. He’s also the pastor of Breakthrough Church in Juneau, AK. You can check out his blog at EndlessImpact.com where the goal is to connect with others in a conversation about life, service, and faith while connecting to God who is true Impact.