“Our fathers were our models for God. If our fathers bailed, what does that tell you about God?– Tyler Durden – Fight Club
Listen to me! You have to consider the possibility that God does not like you…
Listen to me! He never wanted you. In all probability,
This is not the worst thing that can happen.”
My father never bailed, but sometimes I struggle with what him staying meant. Growing up at The Ranches, it meant that I had very little in common with the kids in our care.
The reason that this work is so important to me is because we have an opportunity – one we rarely make the most of – to fundamentally redraw a child’s view of God.
Now, I have read The Bible and I have searched for ways to apply it to me and I still sometimes come up struggling to believe that I am seen, much less a priority, to God. My own weakness is hard to admit here, but it is indeed the truth. This admission means that I occasional fall into the traps of secular thinking, and that often has some lasting effects in my relationships; whether I want to admit it or not.
This struggle with my Heavenly Father is why every shun, every unspoken frustration, every unresolved feeling, every conversation that wasn’t, and every missed opportunity to live out, “What Jesus Would Do”, has an impact on me. It is also why I know that our work at The Ranches may just have an eternal impact on the kids that we serve.
I sometimes ponder and ask the question: If a child formed their view of God based solely on their interaction with and treatment from us, what would their view of God be?
|Would they think God is:||Or would they believe that God is:|
|Kind||Holds a Grudge|
|Secure||Values an Awful Story That wasn’t His Fault|
|Thinks They’re Too Much – effort, trouble, time|
|Unwilling to Listen|
|Off Duty for 4 Days at a Time|
I don’t get to decide how others see God. All I can do is challenge the kid’s view and offer a Biblically sound example. I recognize how often I fail, but you only have to worry about failure when you’re trying to actually accomplish something. No one ever failed at laziness. Contrary to my struggle to sometimes believe that I am a priority to God and that he would never give up on me, we try to always live out our priorities in front of the kids and we work to make giving up on the kids our very last resort.
While we can’t always stay committed to children because the kid’s behavior is sometimes outside of our capacity to help them, we work to make giving up our last option. It’s a bit of a rationalization – yes – but it is one that I can live with. You see, when we are not willing to ever give up, one child becomes more important than the needs, fears and hopes of all the other kids. We are then doing damage to the other kids and reshaping their view of God in a potentially negative direction. As a result, boundaries become necessary. Even still, I am often working to try and make this place the very best at this kind of work and at working with hurting kids. I believe that it is indeed what Jesus would do. I appreciate your willingness to support us in pursuit of these lofty goals.
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