Who Wants Them?
By Kinsey Thurlow on January 22nd, 2013

I sat down with him, my opponent, each of us casting our challenging glares at each other across the table. We braced ourselves, deciding who would make the first move. Others nearby gave glances in our direction. I calculated what was at stake—would I lose a game of Jenga to an eight-year-old?

Well, skipping the play-by-play, the answer is yes. I lost. He won, fair and square, and the truth is, I didn’t even let him. It was a true and honest triumph for this little boy, who proudly sported his victory smile along with his black velure pajamas, decorated with pictures of basketballs.

And while the game had its excitement, the highlights of that friendly rivalry weren’t in the game itself, but in the unfolding of a young boy’s heart. As he and I meticulously pulled pieces from our Jenga tower, trying very hard not to let it fall, I began to see in him a heart that had already crumbled in many places.

This was my first time to meet him, and having learned his name (it being a Biblical one), I threw out a simple question as we mulled over our game. “You know your name’s in the Bible?”

Instead of answering with yes or no, he assertively replied, “I’m not really in to that ‘God stuff.’”

Out from my mouth fell a questioning response, “Not yet?” I stared at him, though his eyes were attentively focused on the Jenga pieces.

He half-turned his head toward me, and with a shrug of his shoulders, a response rose from his wounded heart that brought pain to my own as well. “With all that I’ve been through in my life, I’ve decided God is just a myth.” I didn’t know the details of his story, or how he ended up in foster care, but I knew great injustice had been done to him. I knew the image of a father had been distorted for him. I knew his short eight years held memories of abuse, neglect, fear, and trauma.

His body seemed rigid, and his face was hard and tight. Yet, he was simply unable to mask the desperate cry for hope flickering in the deep of his eyes. “Could I pray for you and ask God to show you who He is, and that He’s real?” I asked him.

“Sure,” he said sincerely, immediately closing his eyes. Though abused and greatly wounded, the broken pieces of his childlike heart reached up in their doubt, wanting to be convinced that God was real. I prayed, asking God to show him who He is, to talk to him, to visit him in dreams.

After I prayed, he looked at me, his eyes wanting answers, his heart a little softer. “Will you pray one more time?” he asked solemnly. “Will you pray that I could just sleep at night? I don’t ever really sleep.” I prayed again. It was a conversation that won’t be forgotten.

Consider an eight-year-old boy, removed from his family, tormented by memories of his own short life, alone, afraid, not knowing when he’s going home again or if he will ever go home again.

Consider his young eight-year-old heart, tipping toward atheism, doubting God’s goodness and existence. And consider that he is one child among nearly half a million foster children in America who’ve been pulled from their families after first suffering abuse or neglect.

Now, let’s consider the call given to us—rescue the weak and needy, vindicate the fatherless, visit orphans in their distress, set the oppressed free (Psalm 82, Isaiah 58:6, James 1:27)

A broken and forgotten generation of children is crying out for hope. And a question is hanging over their lives– to which kingdom will they belong? About 120,000 foster children are waiting for adoptive families. They are a generation up for grabs, and who wants them? Who wants this fatherless generation? Right now, many are not being raised up and called forth. They are not being discipled. They are not being fathered. But the father of lies is taking hold of the hearts and minds of many of these young ones.

As the enemy seeks to steal and destroy the destinies of these young ones, may the church arise now into her place as defenders of the orphan and vindicators of the weak. Not as heroes, but as children, imitating the love of our Father, empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, to give gladness for mourning and a garment of praise for heaviness (Isaiah 61).

For the ones fearful and wounded, let’s be the arms to wrap around the hurt. For those alone, let’s set them in families. For those broken in heart and body, may God give us the grace to walk them through their restoration. For fatherless ones who don’t know that God is Father, let’s tell them who He is—Father, Healer, Comforter, Savior…

For the young, abused hearts, already doubting God’s existence, let’s be the voice that declares Him and the love that displays Him.

Each child has a story. There is a war over a fatherless generation of children, and it’s real.

To which kingdom will they belong? Who wants them?

January 22nd, 2013
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