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Father of the Orphan Heart

Jun 18, 2017 02:25AM ● Published by Bonnie Lyn Smith

I love every part of my job, but it reaches new heights in the springtime when I get to bring the laptop into my backyard sanctuary and sing praise songs while I write. The birdsong fills my senses, the dogs frolick around me, a little field mouse named “Chatter” comes to greet me from under the wicker chair, Frank and Francis (a hummingbird couple) sip sugar water from a feeder, and frogs throat-chat me. I sometimes imagine my zucchini plant, as it grows bigger and more confident, bowing briefly in the wind to a Creator it reaches toward as photosynthesis converts sunlight into energy into growth.

Other than the currently unmowed lawn, it’s my own version of paradise. And the best part is meditating on God’s promises. They nourish the orphan heart inside me. We all have one. Suddenly finding ourselves in adulthood, we realize we have carried a child heart alongside us through all the valleys and barren lands of life. That same child shouted with glee at graduation, marriage, a new baby, a career start. There are heart scars and skinned knees, but here we are.

Okay, Bonnie, what’s with the pop psychology lesson?

When we think of Father’s Day, we naturally tend to think about our own fathers (good or bad) or ourselves or our spouses as parents. It’s good to celebrate what the role of a father should be: life-giving, protective, nurturing, defending. 

A Fathers Love Both Defender and Servant - Jun 21 2015 0333AM

A Father’s Love: Both Defender and Servant - Jun 21, 2015 03:33AM

What does it look like when a Holy God bends down to our level to father our orphaned hearts? Read More » 

But our orphan hearts need the full reflection of our Father in heaven to sustain us. We are orphans in our sin, breaking covenant with God, but we are His children and full heirs of God's kingdom via the sacrifice of Christ.

Much of John 14 describes God as Father and why Jesus and the Father are one. It serves as a brief theology lesson and foundation for the disciples. I could meditate on the mind-blowing concept of the Trinity all day and never grasp the fullness of God, but the lines I bring to my orphan heart are rich and numerous in this passage. 

John 14:1-7, ESV

"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."

Check out these promises from God the Father:

  • Do not be troubled. Believe in God. I am real.
  • My Father has a real house He is preparing for you with many rooms.
  • I am returning and will take you to be in My presence forever.
  • I, Jesus, am the way there. It’s provided for. Your path is cleared.
  • Because you know Me, you also know My Father.

John 14:15-17, ESV

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you."

Notice this provision, this gift: 
  • I expect you to follow My commandments, but I know you can’t do it on your own, so the Father will give you a Helper, the Holy Spirit.
  • He will help you discern the truth when those around you cannot.
  • The Spirit will dwell with you, and you will know Him.
John 14:18-24, ESV

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?" Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me."

And perhaps, my personal favorite statement: “I will not leave you as orphans.”

We need reassurance. The child inside needs to hear, to know deep within our hearts that:

  • I won’t leave you.
  • You will be forever parented by Me.
  • I will humble Myself to come to you.
  • You will see Me again.
  • This isn’t all there is, and this isn’t over. There is more.
  • You will live forever with Me (Jesus paid the price).
  • You belong to Me.
  • You love Me back by following My ways. It’s for your protection. It’s My way of loving you.
  • My Father will love you.
  • We will come to you and make Our home with you.

In the gospel of Luke, we find statements consistent with these. Different reporting disciple, same God, same promises.

Luke 12:29-32, ESV

"And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

Does your orphan heart respond? Do you understand what He’s offering here? Jesus is saying it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom, even though He sent His Son to a cross to accomplish that.

Orphan heart, hear your worth. He is making a home with you. You are an orphan no more.

Happy Father’s Day to you from a Father who comes to you and brings you to His table to sup in His presence forever.

Won’t you tell Him “yes” and pull up a chair at His table?


Photo credit: Saket Patel

Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.

She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.

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Opinion Father in heaven orphan heart prepare a place in my Father's house let not your hearts be troubled I am in my Father make our home with him

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