The story is told of a young orphan girl who when she was 8, was adopted by a very wealthy man.
Upon her adoption she was immediately be moved into a modest house with 2 servants who would take care of her basic needs, but the strange thing was she was told that she would not see her new adoptive father for many, many years.
Upon her first day in her new home one of the servants gave her a large book. When she asked what it was, she was told that it was from her adoptive father and that reading it was very important.
This was all a little strange for her but it was certainly better than the orphanage and besides the servants were kind to her. But every time she had a question, they just pointed to the book.
So that first evening she opened the book and found some information about her adoptive father’s great love for her and how that her adoption cost him greatly! She was so happy and filled with joy that she closed the book and lay there for a while and thought about how wonderful her new father must be.
The next day as she awoke, she found clean clothes laid out for her and a nice breakfast prepared. After she had finished eating she asked one of the servants how she could talk to her father if she needed something or to thank him for adopting her. So just then the servant walked over to her and pointed to a button on her collar and said to her, your father is always listening. Again this seemed very strange, but again she thought to herself, this is certainly better than the orphanage.
Well, it was time to go off to school. She wondered what her new school would be like. She had heard in the orphanage that you had to pay for your own lunch in public schools, so as she wondered about this, she reached into her pocket and found three dollars and thought, wow, my father has thought of everything! Just then she remembered the button on her collar and leaned her head down and with a smile said, “Thank you father”! There was no reply.
Just then the school bus arrived and she hopped on and went to sit near the back because it was already almost full of students. As she was going back to her seat she noticed that everyone was staring at her; “was there something different about me?” she thought to herself, maybe it was my clothes; maybe it was because I was smiling from ear to ear, I don’t know, I was just so happy.
Well, school ended and everything was fine, I made a new friend and got several more stares.
So on the way home the bus stopped a couple blocks from my house; so I jumped out and saw a little store so I went in. I looked around for a while and then noticed my favorite candy. I remembered that lunch cost $2.50 and that I had .50 cents left, and much to my amazement, my favorite candy was only .50 cents, again I thought to myself wow, my father probably knew that too! So I leaned over and spoke softly into the little button and said, “Thank you father”, there was no reply, but I knew he heard me so I went my way rejoicing!
As I was going home, I thought to myself, wow, so this is what having a real father is like; some day I hope I will be able to give him a real big hug.
Arriving home, I was greeted by the servants and a delicious smelling meal. So I ate it while reflecting on the day’s events. Just then I began to wonder again who this father of mine was? I only knew he was wealthy, that he loves me, and that he takes care of me, and my needs.
So after dinner I cleaned up and sat down with my father’s book to find out more about him and maybe what he expects from me. So I began to read, but before I got very far, I heard a phone ring from the other room, and a voice telling me the phone was for me. So I picked up the phone and said, “Hello,” and it was my new friend from school. We talked and talked for a very long time, and then I realized it was past my bedtime, so I told my friend good-bye and got ready for bed. Before jumping into bed I noticed that I had left my father’s book open on the bed so I smiled, put it on the shelf and went to bed.
The next day was pretty much the same. I got up, had breakfast, went to school, ate lunch, spent some time with my new friend and rode the bus home. But this time I got out by the store and would have gone in to buy some of my favorite candy but I remembered that when I bought my school lunch, I only had just enough for lunch $2.50. I was a little sad but thought to myself, “Well, maybe father forgot?”
So as the days, weeks and months passed my life began to have its up and downs. Sometimes the kids at school would make fun of me for being adopted and because I sometimes spoke to my father as if he was really there; Well, I knew he was, and I knew they wouldn’t really understand.
So every day my clothes were laid out for me and my meals were provided, but sometimes I got special little extras and sometimes I didn’t; sometimes I would get the things I asked for and sometimes I would not. And when I didn’t, it made me sad. When I was sad, many times I didn’t feel like reading father’s book because, well he didn’t seem to care as much as he did at first and sometimes I didn’t really understand what he was trying to tell me anyway. And sometimes when I didn’t get what I wanted, I would ask others for it, and I got it, and I was happy, at least I thought I was happy. I would thank my friends for their care and kindness.
Well, several years had passed and I was now 14. I was sad that I still had not seen my adoptive father, but life was ok and it was a big world out there with lots of things to explore, lots of things to try out. I had many friends now and was very popular in school, life was good, or at least I thought?
So every morning I would get up, put on my clothes and eat my breakfast and head off to school. But today was different. It was Friday and I had a date with one of the most popular boys in our school that had just transferred here from another school. He was tall and very dreamy looking, and he had asked me to go out on a date with him earlier in the week and I quickly said yes! I know he wasn’t like me, I mean I know he wouldn’t understand about my adoption and how I would sometimes speak to my father, so that morning I did what I had never done before, I took my father’s button off of my collar and set it on top of my father’s book; I mean, I didn’t really want father listening to my conversations with him, I might be embarrassed, and anyway father seemed a little distant; besides he would understand that I need my privacy, right?
So Friday night came; I didn’t know exactly where we were going that night, but I was excited. I had borrowed some stylish clothes from one of my girlfriends because all of my clothes were, well, not very modern or stylish, I guess father was a little old fashioned? My girlfriend also helped me with some makeup and perfume as well, and when I was done, my girlfriend said, “Wow, you look amazing!” So my date picked me up from my girlfriend’s home and we drove off. By the way, he was 17. I felt a little strange not having my button on because one time when I was 10 a big mean dog began to chase me down the street and I knew he would soon catch me, but just then I remembered the button and I yelled “Father, help me!” and just then a cat ran between my legs and then ran off across the street and the big dog chased after it. I wasn’t sure what, if anything, my father could have done about that, but anyway, I leaned my head over toward the button and said, “Thank you father,” and I smiled and went on my way rejoicing.
So I was excited about our date and what it might hold. He was dressed very stylish as well, and his car was a very nice sports car, wow, I was so happy; at least I thought. I don’t know what it was, but I was remembering some things that I had read in my father’s book and I became a little uneasy. I thought to myself that maybe I should have read it more often, but I kept convincing myself that this would be the most memorable day of my life-Well, it was! After stopping at party after party and being offered alcohol many times, I finally gave in to the temptation, even though I knew father wouldn’t want me too, but anyway, he was never around, he was probably too busy with other things and didn’t really care anymore, besides I was 14! As I tasted it for the first time, it was awful, but after a couple of drinks I didn’t care anymore, I was starting to feel great; and my date, well, he had already had many drinks. So we spent the rest of the night talking and laughing. I saw many things I had never seen before, mostly bad, but I knew I would never do those things and besides I was having fun.
Well, it was getting late, and it was already well past the time I was supposed to be home, so I asked my date to take me home, but he just said that he wasn’t ready; So after about another hour of asking, he finally said, “Fine” in a loud voice! So we got into his car and we sped off down the street, faster and faster he drove, so I quickly put on my seatbelt and asked him to slow down but he paid no attention to me. I was getting scared because he was driving all over the road. Just then we came near an intersection and I noticed that the light was red and that he wasn’t slowing down, so I yelled, “it’s red”, and he just said “shut up” and sped up faster. Just then another car entered the intersection and I screamed, “look out”, He turned the wheel sharply and the car began to flip over… just then I screamed, “Father save me”! There was no reply. As the car was rolling, I remembered that I had left father’s button at home; fear gripped my heart as the car continued to roll, then all went black!
I don’t remember what happened after that, I do remember though at some point either waking for a moment or having a dream and seeing a nice kindly looking older man standing over me, a felt a warm hand on my head, and a sense of peace, then nothing again.
When I finally awoke, I looked around, I wasn’t sure where I was or what had happened, but as I looked more, I realized that I was in a hospital room; I saw flowers, heard sounds, and then I remembered, Oh my gosh, the accident, what had happened, was I alright, what about my date, was he ok; panic gripped my heart once again as a doctor and a nurse ran into the room. I heard the nurse say to the doctor, “Doctor, she’s awake.” After calming me down and checking me for a few moments, the doctor assured me that everything was fine. He said, you’re a lucky girl, but I can’t say that much for the car, it was destroyed. As I started to speak, the doctor said, and your date was a lucky man too, but not quite as lucky as you. He suffered 2 broken legs, a broken arm, and lots of cuts and bruises, it’s a good thing at least you had your seatbelt on! Then he said, “You get some rest now, you’ll be here for a few more days.”
As I lay there I was filled with emotions; some of joy and relief, but many of sadness and regret. I felt like such a failure, and what would my father think; does he even know, I’m sure he must know what happened. Just then as I was looking around something caught my eye, something familiar was laying on the table near my bed, could it be, yes, it was Father’s book, and there was a piece of paper sticking out from it. As I opened the book, I read what was written on the front of that that piece of paper, it said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” “Again I will build you, and you shall be built;“ “I will never leave you or forsake you;” “you are mine and you are precious to me.” Wow, was that for me, I had never read such words before! Also on the paper were several other page numbers, so I began to turn to each one and to read, and here is what I read in my father’s book:
1. “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
2. “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
3. “My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.”
4. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
5. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
6. “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
7. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
8. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
9. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”
10. “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.”
11. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
12. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
13. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
14. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”
I thought to myself, wow, if I had only read these things earlier maybe I wouldn’t have gotten into this mess! But now I understood that I was sometimes blaming my father for those times I suffered, those times I went without something, when all along, it was me, it was my fault.
I was once again filled with overflowing joy and thankfulness for my father, and as I turned my head, I noticed something on the collar of my hospital gown, was my button, my father’s button! As a tear rolled down my cheek, I thought about how much my father must love me, so I turned my head, smiled, and said, Thank you Father.
Folks, God loves us, He paid a great price for us, that we might be adopted into His family, He gave us His book that we might know of His great love for us and His will for our lives. What is the moral to this story? Leave the button on, read the Book, and every day, turn your head and say, Thank you Lord!
Written by Doug Doan (Missionary to Lithuania) firstname.lastname@example.org