Three Different Families
I. Mommy left this morning. It was inevitable, like a ticking time bomb set to explode. Right now, the casualties in the wake of her outburst included one devastated father and four traumatized kids. It’s the youngest daughter who asks the right questions, “Why did Mommy leave? Why aren’t you chasing her, Daddy?”
How do you tell a daughter that Mommy found another lover to replace her family?
II. Papa was a busy salary-man. Work was his god. Business was his tenacious mistress. He barely came home. His seat in his teenage son’s games was consistently unoccupied. But today? Papa sat in the chair of the dinner table. “Aren’t you going to ask me about my day?” his son silently wondered. His father continued to eat and read the newspaper, eyes on the words, mind distant. It was like sitting across a stranger.
Sure, Papa was present now. But he was still absent. As always.
III. She never met the Mom and Dad who left her at the orphanage. It’s been nine years of waiting for them to come back for her. Nine years of waiting for anyone to come. It doesn’t help that all the infants and toddlers were chosen first. The questions swell louder, like a pounding buzz swirling in her mind. ”Why did they leave me here?”
The gnawing ache in her heart speaks volumes of the family she lost. “Do they miss me too?”
When Love Leaves
Somehow, we all grow up with the thought that love is constant. Or that it must be constant. We exist on earth with this phenomenon, born with a desire to belong, to be embraced by love throughout a lifetime.
So when love leaves, or when it abandons us, it inflicts scars deeper than dagger wounds. It breaks more than just our bones.
One of the most painful forms of abandonment is from fathers and/or mothers—whether it be a total physical separation or an emotional one. The absence of a parent leaves a void, yet it burdens with the heaviest of sorrows.
Abandonment isolates and offends.
In the midst of the resentment, we might wonder, “Can someone like a ‘supposedly good’ God relate to this kind of pain?”
So when love leaves, or when it abandons us, it inflicts scars deeper than dagger wounds. It breaks more than just our bones. Abandonment isolates and offends.
Jesus Can Empathize with Pain
The Word calls Jesus the Great High priest (Hebrews 2; Hebrews 10), who bore humanity in Himself and succumbed to the same temptations, the same pains and relatable heartaches mankind has been accustomed to.
Now stop and try to think about it. Jesus bore pain too.
He knows how your heart grieves when it’s broken. He understands your anguish when your body succumbs to affliction. He knows how your soul wrestles with the tight knots of emotional suffering.
Because He experienced it Himself.
He knows how it feels like to be ridiculed (Mark 10:34), to be mocked (Matthew 27:29), to be underestimated by his own family (John 7:5). Jesus knows the sorrow of losing a beloved to death (John 11:33-35). He knows the heartache of being cheated on. God the Father understands the suffering of pursuing an unfaithful bride, of fighting for a broken family (Hosea 2). He is familiar with the griefs of betrayal (Matthew 26: 14-16), rejection (Matthew 21:42), and dishonor.
He understands physical affliction. He is familiar with the mental turmoil, anxiety, and unrest that goes before imminent suffering (Luke 22:44). He understands vulnerability and the shame of nakedness when he was stripped before his persecutors (John 19:23). When the flogging deformed his skin, when the nails crushed his feet, when blood drained from his body, he became the epitome of brokenness. He knows how it feels to have death claim His earthly vessel (Luke 23:46).
And ultimately, He knows how it feels to be abandoned.
At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” [Matthew 27:46]
This passage deals with the first time He addressed the Most High as “God” and not as “Father”. It’s a small, yet profound detail. As he carried the weight of sin in his dying body, their relationship as “Father” and “Son” also yielded to death. God’s presence was bound to forsake Him.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” [2 Corinthians 5:21]
Jesus was severed from the presence of God so that in exchange, humanity could thrive in having the Father’s presence in their lives. This is the Divine Exchange. This is the prize Jesus won for us.
Jesus bore pain too. Ultimately, He knows what it feels like to be abandoned.
Let Him Be What Your Earthly Father/Mother Couldn’t Be For You
Offense is a normal response to valid expectations that aren’t met. A gap exists, between needs, dreams, and the valid desire for love.
We may be tempted to think that God acts the same way our earthly fathers and mothers do. We might believe that He is prone to abandoning us, especially when we mess up.
But Jesus’ sacrifice rescues us from this fear.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed. [Isaiah 53:5]
He already bore in Himself the abandonment that should have been our consequence. Because of this binding act, God the Father can never abandon His children. The price has been paid, and His righteousness demands that God proves His promises true.
He is the repairer of voids where expectations of love should have been fulfilled.
Your True Father
Even though your mother or father might forsake you, He’ll never leave you (Psalm 27:10).
Though your parents might not listen to your heart, He listens to yours (Psalm 139:2-4).
Even when you feel invisible to your family, you can find comfort in His eyes. He never loses sight of you (Psalm 17:8) .
Though you often feel neglected, He is always there, always attentive to your needs (Matthew 6:8).
If fear hinders you from approaching a disapproving, strict father—know that your True Father urges you to come to Him in confidence (Hebrews 4:16; Romans 8:15). There is no condemnation in Him (Romans 8:1).
He will never forget you (Isaiah 49:15).
He will never forsake you (Hebrews 13:5-6).
He invites you to rest in Him (Psalm 23).
Rest In Your True Father’s Love
He wants to heal you from whatever feelings of abandonment you face. Let your longing heart find solace in the Loving Father who desires to embrace you into wholeness. Receive His love and watch Him overwhelm all your fears with the truth.
The same God who broke through eternities to find you is the same True Father who will never abandon you.
You can always depend on His faithful, attentive, and constant love for you.
You are never abandoned.
You are no longer an orphan.
Your True Father is here.
He is the repairer of voids where expectations of love should have been fulfilled. He wants to heal you from whatever feelings of abandonment you face. The same God who broke through eternities to find you is the same True Father who will never abandon you.
Lord, it hurts to face abandonment. You know because you can relate to how I feel. You know what it feels like to be left alone by friends and family. Please be the One who heals me from this pain and emptiness. Be my True Father. Be everything that my own earthly father/mother/friends/loved ones couldn’t be for me. Help me to forgive, even though it hurts. I surrender to You my life and all my broken pieces. Please make me whole again. You say You’re the God who heals. Then please help me believe. Be the One who enables my faith to grow, especially when days are difficult.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
- Cover Photo by Aziz Acharki