Searching for Daddy Warbucks

Lamentations 5:3 “We have  become orphans without a father…” (NAS)

Observation: The Jews are in Babylonian captivity, having lost everything. Their inheritance (v. 2) had been “turned over to strangers,” their houses had been forfeited to aliens. Everything they needed carried high cost or personal danger: “We have to pay for our drinking water; our wood comes to us at a price (v. 4)” They complained of having to submit to Egypt to get bread which came “at the risk of (their) lives. (v. 9) Their sad litany seems unending. They no longer dance; they have no joy, no crown. Their eyes are dimmed and their youth stumble under heavy burdens; their elders are unrespected.

Application: It is accurate that they should describe themselves as orphans. Life for them was one long series of hardships brought about by their own decisions. Babylon was fitting punishment for a people who had determinedly pursued flesh’s lesser pleasures rather than God’s best.

But orphanhood had not begun with Babylon. In reality, it had entered their DNA in the garden. The core of Adam’s sin was his decision to provide for his own needs by eating what he wanted, then becoming embarrassed at his nakedness and making his own covering of leaves. It was there that my ancestor began to more resemble little orphan Annie than a child of the King of Kings.

What is an orphan but one who lives in lack, who hoards any extra they have?

That’s the core, it seems, of our fallen condition for the last six thousand years…choosing to spend our lives under coverings of our making from which God must necessarily turn His back just as He turned from Adam. The result was, Adam would thereafter have to earn his living by “sweat” (Gen. 3:19).

So I find myself too often in the conflicted position of having given my life to Christ on the one hand, yet still looking to my own devices to have my needs met…a strategy that always ends in bankruptcy. Monetary bankruptcy is bad enough, the fruit of purchasing too much eye candy and creating overwhelming debt. But even worse is the spiritual impoverishment that comes from self-reliance, meeting my own needs rather than experiencing the fulness of His best in relationships, in work, in life itself. But the good news is this: Christ promised in John 14, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” It is His Spirit, the “spirit of adoption” (Rom 8:15) by whom my rescue is assured. My part is to fully appropriate it.

Prayer: Lord, I confess that I too often incline toward self-reliance. To You, it doesn’t matter whether these areas are huge, or whether they represent just little slivers of my life…each is off-putting to You and keeps Your full provision at arms’ length. Forgive me, Lord for any thought of having to meet my own needs. The impoverishment that comes from such mentality is impossible to bear. I choose gladly to look to You for my every need.

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