Dedicated to you, whose parents have abandoned you in many ways at a young age due to drugs, alcohol and abuse.
“Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the LORD will take me up. Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a level path because of my foes.”
It is not easy for many to comprehend what it would be like to grow up in a home where there is chaos continually – where chaos could look like having some supervision to a small child crawling on the floor through trash and animal feces while the parents cook meth.
More and more, I am seeing clients who at a very young age have consciously chosen not to live in the drug culture like their parents and other family members. They grow up with a feeling of abandonment. As they tell their life stories of neglect and abuse, I am always amazed at how they could have turned out the way they have. The scenario is quite similar in many of these cases. The mother is addicted at an early age to drugs or alcohol. In an impaired condition, she gets pregnant and tries to raise the child herself on state welfare. Her life is filled with a long string of drug dealers, abusive relationships with boyfriends and other addicts who are in and out of her life using her resources. Her encounters with the law and Children’s Division take their toll on this family. Most often there is more than one child growing up unattended and unprotected from predators attracted to this chaotic free-for-all.
These children have grown up being the parent. When they are finally able to leave and become independent, they are faced with controlling contact with this toxic family network and going on with their lives. They must be especially vigilant where their children are concerned to work hard not to expose them to family members who would endanger them in risky situations if given the opportunity. A high percentage of them are vulnerable in that they are ever seeking reunification and healing for that broken relationship like it’s a hole they are trying to fill. Some individuals suffer from post traumatic stress disorder – PTSD. This can be due to alarming experiences as children. More than 50% of the female clients I have worked with were molested as children. The chaos in their homes was a prime source of dysfunction resulting in the violation of innocence. Low self-image and disrespect is common and can easily perpetuate dysfunction into the next generation. Many of the children living in these situations are addicted at an early age when they are least qualified to make that decision and recklessly blow through their chances of a normal drug-free life. That is why the child who can stay free of it into adulthood is exceptionally rare.
At the time of the writing of the 27th Psalm, this issue of being forsaken by your parents evidently had similarities on some level to today. The Scriptures also relate the opposite end of the spectrum in the story of the Prodigal Son who was loved by his father but chose to go out in the world and live life in a faster lane and came home after he was homeless and had lost everything. But in this case, the parent welcomed him with open arms and had a great feast in his honor.
One day, as I was driving home, I saw a large homemade sign posted at the end of a driveway. The lettering was boldly scrawled in red “YOU ARE LOVED PLEASE COME HOME.” I turned around and went back to take a picture as it was so unique. One could only imagine what led up to this sign and to whom it was directed – a runaway child, spouse, or significant other. To the child from a home without love and even human regard, this would be a most welcome sign finally beginning to fill that deep hole.
Jesus Christ understands what it means to be forsaken by His father. In the moment when He had taken all of our sins upon Himself, I believe He was shut out from His Father’s presence because He was in a place, even if only briefly, where God wouldn’t go. “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying . . .My God, My God, why has thou forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46KJV
This is the bitter cup, He wanted to avoid. “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me;” Luke 22:42
Being shut out from His Father‘s presence was the most bitter cup of all. He could hardly bear it even for a short time but He went to the cross willingly for us knowing that when He did He would go through that experience of alienation and abandonment from God caused by our sin – the condition of the world before Christ. He knows the pain that comes with that in the human experience even though He, like you as a child, was innocent – without sin. You had every right to be cherished by healthy, mature parents, protecting you and fully engaged in your life.
In Isaiah 49:15 another reference is made to a woman forgetting her sucking child or not having compassion on the son of her womb, but again the reinforcing statement as in Psalm 27, that the Lord will not forget you. “Behold, I have engraven thee upon the palms of My hands.” The nail holes that Christ carries are the marks He bears for His act of love for you.
Psalm 30:5 KJV “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
He will bring you joy in the morning. He will take you up and comfort you when you feel forsaken. His sacrifice restored us to our heavenly Father.
To members of our community, who for the most part are blessed to be out of touch with the direct negative effects of the drug culture, we cannot avoid being made aware of its devastating impact on families. Joy can and should come through us to others who feel alienated by the ravaging effects of drugs, alcohol and abuse. Imagine this sign in the driveway of every family who needs healing reunification where there has been abandonment due to drugs, alcohol and abuse – a very good place to start.
Scriptures for Your Meditation on Joy:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV).
“ In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” 1 Peter 1:6 NIV
10 Let those who love the Lord hate evil,
for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light shines on the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous,
and praise his holy name. Psalm 97:10-12 (NIV)
“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.” – Psalm 27:5-7 (NIV).
”Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. . .” – Luke 6:22-23 (NIV)
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” – Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth. He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet.” – Psalm 47:1-3 (NIV)
“My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I whom you have delivered.” – Psalm 71:23 (NIV)
“For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts!” – Psalm 92:4-5 (NIV)