God longs to be gracious to us.

God longs to be gracious to us.

Once upon a time, there was a very kind gentleman who lived near an orphanage.  Week after week, the man watched cars and trucks bring in children to the orphanage by parents and relatives who could not care for them. Each time he saw a child go into the orphanage, the man’s heart longed to be kind to them. He understood what it felt like to be rejected and unloved.  Over time, this man actually adopted many children from that orphanage and brought them to his own home. He was very rich and had all the resources to take care of them with great generosity.

One day, he went to the orphanage to adopt another child. This child had been there since he was a baby  And now he was 10 years old.  Without anyone knowing it, this compassionate man had sent money every year to the orphanage anonymously to care for the child, to buy clothes and presents and to send doctors when the child was sick.  As the man watched the young boy grow year by year, he fell more in love with this little boy and finally he decided to adopt him.

When this man arrived at the orphanage that beautiful spring morning, the young boy was sitting in a chair waiting for him.   He was handsome and healthy and well dressed. When he saw the man enter the room, he respectfully stood up but his heart and mind were filled with fear and confusion.   He knew the man was here to talk about adopting him. He knew that other children from the orphanage now lived with this man but how could he be sure that this man would be good to him. He knew that his parents had abandoned him to the orphanage when he was a baby and they had never come back to visit him. How could he trust this man – – stranger? The young boy knew the bitter taste of disappointment. He had cried himself to sleep many nights wishing that his mother and father would have kept him.  He was determined not to be hurt again like that.

“Johnny, I would like to adopt to. I would like to take care of you as my own son. I’ve been watching you from my house down the street as you played in the yard here at the orphanage. You certainly have turned into a wonderful young man. Would you be willing to come home with me and be my son? I promise to love and care for you and be a real father to you.”

Johnny looked at the floor for a long minute. What the man said seemed too good to be true. He wanted a father. He was desperate for a father— but how could he be sure that this man would not disappoint him or hurt him.

“Sir, I’m not sure. I appreciate your offer but how can you prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will be a good father to me? How can I know that what you say is absolutely true?   before I trust someone to take me home, I need absolute proof that this is going to work out and that you are the kind of person who can be a good father to me. Can you prove that to me?”

The man fumbled with his hat and looked at the small boy in front of them with great sadness. ” Johnny, I can’t give you what you’re asking. No one can give you what you’re asking. Relationships are not like that. Families are not like that. I’m sure that you know that many other people here in the orphanage think that I’m a good man. I’m sure you know that the other children I have adopted would tell you that I am a good father. But I cannot give you absolute proof that all of that is true. I do love you and I do want to take care of you. I know you have been hurt before but I promise that I will never hurt you. If you are willing to believe that  and come home with me to my house as my son, you will soon know how good I am, how safe you are and how loved you are by me.”

“I’ll have to think it over,” the little boy mumbled. I need to go now.”  As he turned to quickly leave the room, the man gently touched him on the shoulder and the boy stopped momentarily.

“I’ll be waiting for your answer, son. Even if you say no, I will still always love you but my heart will be sad if you do not decide to become my son.”

The boy almost hesitated. Part of him wanted to turn and throw his arms around the waist of that man. Part of him wanted to cry with relief that someone finally chose him to be their son. But instead, he kept on walking through the door and climbed the long, dark staircase to his room above.