Total Pageviews

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Father God I Wonder...

The moment I walk out our front door, it is impossible not to see and hear parents with their young children. Like just a couple of hours before typing this, when I went to do the weekly grocery shop at our local superstore, there was this toddler constantly screaming his head off, his high pitched voice piercing the air and drowning any normal-tone conversation. Eventually, his mother took him out into the car park even as the child constantly remained restless, while the father (I assume) continued with the shopping alone.

Just another family, one of countless others I see each day, whether at work (never far from a primary school) or at a leisure attraction, as well as at the shopping mall. Such one attraction, Coral Reef Water World, just a few minutes walk from my home, has always been a haven for screaming children, in most cases as expressions of joy and excitement with all the fun features the venue provides, but never without an occasional cry of frustration as the parent or guardian refuses to let the little one have his own way. (For me, at least, I go straight to the Adults Only section for a gym workout and relaxation in the sauna, where not a single whimper from a child's mouth could be heard.) And it's the same where ever I go, parents constantly keeping their young offspring to conform to the environment they are in, often with the adults feeling the frustration themselves, usually with the rest of the crowd apparently staring. I suppose that is natural enough. A sudden loud cry from an infant usually turn heads, does it not?

So it looks to me that the average Mum and Dad takes their children as if for granted in the Western World. Yet I can still imagine the sheer exuberance when a young man (or the not-so-young, as was the case with me) finds out that his wife is pregnant for the first time, either vocally or from a urine test strip showing a positive result. In my case, I was tempted to shout out from the window, but being British, I don't do things like that, tut-tut, I know. Instead I all but burnt out the 'phone line with calls to our relatives and friends. After the birth, my daughter was the apple of my eye, a darling I just about worshiped. I think that becoming a father for the first time at an age approaching fifty intensifies the bonding between father and daughter to a level which younger fathers tend to see as more of a right than as a privilege. So I have always believed.

So there were no negative feelings when I took her out to the superstore, to the town centre, even boarding the train to various other locations, including the coast, as well as on holidays, even on ferry sailings to the Channel Islands. I loved the moments when I spoon-fed her, often when eating out. Each night, around three in the morning, she would wake up and cry. I have never felt a moment of burden in getting up and seeing to her needs, diaper change, hugging and holding her in my arms. I cant help thinking of Stevie Wonder's classic hit Isn't She Lovely? coming to mind as she falls asleep in bed with her in my arms as my wife sleeps soundly on.

So sometime in the past there might have been a mother in her early thirties, named Rachel. She was devoted as much to her infant son as I was to my daughter. The main difference being that not long after the birth of the child, her husband died of an illness. So after months of mourning, she was left with his offspring. And therefore unhindered by anyone else in her household, she devoted herself to her upbringing of her son. She always made sure he was adequately fed, bathed and wrapped in clean clothing. Then night after night the two of them shared the same bed, with him fast asleep in the comfort of her arms. Then during the daytime, it was never rare to see the infant sitting on her lap while she sang and made baby sounds to him.

But one particular night, Rachel was bewildered at the unusually bright star in the heavens, which was directly overhead. Was the star a messenger of glad tidings, a bearer of good news? Or could it be an omen of something dreadful about to happen? As her eyes were transfixed to the sky above, she sensed that rather than being ominous, it meant that something wonderful was about to happen, if it had not happened already. Could the birth of someone highly important, such as a king, had just occurred?

It was a couple of days later, when she was cooking in the kitchen with her son playing on the floor nearby, when she began to hear the screaming of women within the town, along with angry shouts of men. As the menacing noise grew louder and nearer, suddenly a Roman soldier burst into the house, carrying a sword. He searched around the tiny house and he saw Rachel reaching frantically for her son. But the soldier was quick, and thrust the sword through the child's small body. The sword-bearer then quickly left, as if deeply hating the task he was ordered to carry out. Left with the tiny corpse, Rachel's screams joined those of other mothers in the streets of the town.

For weeks, even months, Rachel was in a dreadful state emotionally. She being a devoted Jewess, could not understand how her God could allow such catastrophe to occur in her personal life. It was even worse than her neighbour's. At least some of her neighbouring mothers had other children who were older than two years, and as such, escaped the slaughter. In addition, their husbands were still alive, and some of the women affected by the slaughter had become pregnant again. But not Rachel.

Instead of cursing God for her lot in life, she spent time in prayer, believing in her heart that somehow something good will come out of this. She believed in the resurrection of the dead on the last day, as was the general belief among the Jews, and she had an inkling that she would be reunited with her deceased son, and maybe her husband too. So instead of cursing and throwing her wrath heavenwards, she gave thanks, and managed to worship God at the Temple precincts whenever she can make the journey. And on one occasion, while praying at the Temple, someone handed her a parchment with a portion from the prophet Jeremiah penned on it. This is what was written:

This is what the LORD says:
"A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted,
because her children are no more."
This is what the LORD says:
"Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,"
declares the LORD.
"They shall return from the land of the enemy.
So there is hope for your future,"
declares the LORD.
"Your children will return to their own land."
Jeremiah 31:15-17.

When she read the script, her eyes widened with hope, and reading her own name gave her a feeling of joy. She knelt down and heartily gave her thanks to God, along with a beast to offer as a sacrifice of thanks at the Temple. Then she returned home, knowing that her all loving Father in Heaven has heard her cry, and has responded favourably to her.

So earlier this week, a solicitor came round to our home to discuss about making a Will. I suggested that all of our assets should go to our three birth daughters at the death of both of us. But the visitor warned that this may be impossible, because of their different surnames, unknown by us, and growing up to couples not related to us at all, yet they having all legal rights to them as parents. At this point my poor wife broke into tears.

I recall the dreadful night early in 2005 when the Police and Social Services ran into our home at three o'clock in the morning and took away our two daughters. The entire operation took just a few seconds. Yet, how my dear wife screamed and screamed, just like Rachel did two thousand years earlier. Despite my effort to comfort her, I knew that our lives would be changed forever. The shame, the embarrassment, kept us quiet about all this for a decade. Only now we tell it as it is. But why did this happen in the first place? What was it that deemed the State to judge us unfit to raise children? Did we commit a crime? Drugs? Alcohol addiction? Abuse? Neglect? No, it was none of these things. To summarise, the reason why we were judged unfit to be parents was because we both suffer mild autism. And in the wake of national scandals of child abuse hitting the headlines, our daughters were taken into care, which means that never to set foot in our home to this day. At least it gave us a crumb of comfort to know that the Social Worker involved had lost her job over the incident.

So what has been our response over the years? Did we curse God and turned our backs on him? Rather, we ran towards him, as the righteous runs into the Strong Tower, and they are safe. It wasn't long after that someone in our church fellowship came up to us with a revelation that our children will return. Then, not long afterwards I was browsing through Matthew's Gospel, and came across the story of the Innocents. My Bible cross-reference directed me to Jeremiah chapter 31, and by reading the Scripture, I felt strengthened, knowing that God is my heavenly Father who looks out for the welfare of his children. It is amazing what Scripture mixed with faith can accomplish. Not only the source of edifying myself spiritually, but it has been the source of strengthening and encouraging Alex, and also added new life to our marriage, binding us tighter together in Christ, even to the extent that my wife can be the source of encouragement when my chips are down, and that despite her emotional suffering being more intense.

God is our heavenly Father, we ourselves adopted into his family. By law, our daughters are no longer our family members, even if every genome, every chromosome in every cell of their bodies, are Alex's and mine combined. No amount of paperwork, not even as high as Mt. Everest, can change the genome of a single cell in them. But they are legally the offspring of those who have adopted them. We do not know their new surnames, let alone knowing where they live, which schools they attend, which shopping mall their parents take them to. But God knows. All we can do is commit them to his care. But all this is good news for us. We are adopted into God's family through faith in Jesus Christ. Just as our daughters cannot return to us before coming of age, so we cannot return to the adversary's domain for ever. Furthermore, we are born into God's family through regeneration of the spirit, making each one of us temples of the Holy Spirit, who will dwell within us for all eternity, according to John 14:15-17.

So it can be said that our adoption into God's family is much stronger and a lot more secure than the legal adoption of our daughters, because when of age, our daughters can return to us if they desire. But we cannot be disfranchised from God's family because this is more than mere legal adoption. It involves a rebirth of the spirit, making us a new creation altogether, perfectly fit and suitable to heavenly life with Jesus Christ.

These are wonderful, wonderful truths! It is these truths which allows us to look upon the world with open eyes, to commit ourselves to each other in marriage, as well as to God as our heavenly Father. These truths allow us to live our daily lives without upset or mourning over our loss, to give thanks for what we do have, to enjoy some travel together, to commit ourselves to our roles as husband and wife, and most important, to edify each other when things look grim and unbearable.

Rachel found her strength through faith in God in Scripture. The same applies to us. Our encouragement to you is to read your Bible, and believe that all things work for the good for those who love God, and are called according to his purpose. Like that you can be a source of strength to those who has also suffered distress.


  1. Powerful stuff Frank. Great to see your faith in God.

  2. Frank,
    You and Alex will always be the parents of your children, no matter what anyone might say, and I believe absolutely that all things are possible with God and that one day you will see them again. As I read what you had written regarding them I was reminded of a program on the television called ' Long lost families.'
    The amount of adopted children who search for their birth parents as they mature is amazing, and I know that I would feel the same desire to search if I were adopted. I have always loved 'Happy endings', and I pray that both you and Alex will one day share the same experience of being reunited with your daughters as the people on that program do.
    May God bless you richly with all He is able to do in this situation.

  3. Your story reminds ma again just how wicked a nation or government can become trying to resolve spiritual issues by fleshly means. No law that is passed can ever change peoples attitudes, but they can sure hurt a lot of people who are trying to do what is right. Fortunately, God uses even those hurts to accomplish his purpose, although Satan tried to use them to destroy your faith. Praise god, one day he sill make it all right.

  4. Love it god bless your love for each other