Though Parents Forsake Me
Aug 08, 2016
“I was telling my friend that I think the problem with all of us is that we don’t have dads.”
Sofia was looking straight ahead from the passenger seat to the highway that stretched out for miles in front of us. I looked over from where I was driving and asked, “What do you mean, ‘the problem’?”
“I don’t know—just how we are and stuff," she replied. "Always getting into drama and fighting and trying to prove ourselves.”
I wasn’t surprised at Sofia’s thoughtful insight, but I was surprised at how clearly she was able to articulate it. We were headed to camp when this conversation took place. Eight days later I picked the girls up and Sofia resumed her position in the passenger seat. She promptly put her earphones in and hardly said a word the whole way home.
Then, as we neared her apartment, Sofia said, “I hate it here. I wish I could go back to camp.”
She has good reason to hate it. Earlier this year her estranged father had told her he never wanted to see her again, and on our return from camp we found that her mother was on a drunken rampage . . . again. She texted me, “It’s like my mom doesn’t even care if she loses us.”
Within two days Sofia and her brother were removed from their home and placed into foster care.
The verse that comes to my mind when I think of Sofia is Psalm 27:10, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” But how does God show His love and presence to Sofia and her brother? How is He going to “receive” these children in a way that they understand—that makes sense for them in their context?
I have been reading Philip Yancey’s book Disappointment with God and am reminded that the main way we see God’s presence and experience His love now is in His body—the body of Christ. In the Old Testament, God showed Himself through powerful miracles, a pillar of cloud or fire, or a holy and terrifying presence that filled the temple. In the New Testament He showed Himself through the very real body and person of Jesus. Now He is choosing to show Himself through me and my brothers and sisters: His Church.
As I wait for Sofia’s custody to be determined, I think about what I am going to tell her when I am finally allowed to visit. But, actually, maybe my words aren’t the most important thing. Maybe its’s my presence. Because as I sit and cry and laugh with her, Jesus is sitting and crying and laughing with her, too.