I could tell by the colored hearts that she’d labored over her note. Her teacher said to write any question for God. The first time I saw it, I wept. I have no doubt that God did, too.
The precious hearts she drew reminded me of the many hearts broken by her parents’ separation: hers, her mother’s, her dad’s, siblings, grandparents, friends. I wanted to wrap her in my arms and assure her that it wasn’t her fault. Perhaps he’d said, “Honey, Daddy still loves you. Mommy and I just can’t live together anymore.” But the forever unanswered question remains, “But why are you leaving me?”
Malachi said God hates it when a man treats his wife violently and tosses her aside (Mal 2:15-16). Jesus said God never meant for divorce to happen (Matt 19:3-9). But God also understands the rejection of unfaithfulness and experienced the pain of Israel’s adultery (Jeremiah 3:8). God is Love, and divorce is the opposite of love. God knows what it does to those He loves: men and women, families, children. One definition of death is the word “separation.”
What could I say to this child? She needs to know that she is loved, understood, wanted, and not alone.
“Your daddy is gone?” I begin.
“Yes, and I don’t know where he went,” she answers.
“I think you really miss him.”
She nods her head sadly. “Is he mad at me?”
“Did he tell you he was angry with you?” I whisper.
“No. Daddy told me he loves me. But he went away, and I don’t know where he is.”
“He’s not lost where no one can find him because God knows where he is. Is that why you asked God where your dad is?”
“Yes,” she answers, looking up at me hopefully.
“God is watching and waiting for your dad to learn how to love better. Until then, God wants to be your forever dad. Would you like to have a forever dad?”
She readily nods her head and smiles.
“You know when Jesus lived in this world, He was away from His Father, too. He knows you miss your dad.”
“Yes, He does! And God’s family left Him for a while, too, so God the Father knows how your feelings hurt.”
“He does?” she whispers, lowering her head, not wanting me to see her trembling lips.
“And you know what?” I pick her up into my lap as I go on. “I miss my daddy, too, because my dad died and went to live with Jesus. I haven’t gotten to talk to him in a lot of years.”
Her eyes widen as she looks up at me. Then she gently pats my arm with her tiny hand.
I continue, “A forever father lives with you wherever you are. We get to talk to Him anytime we want to pray, and He’s never too busy. My forever father talks to me when I read the Bible and helps me be good and remember how much He loves me.”
“He does that?”
“Yes He does! And He never gets tired, and He can see in the dark! He can even hear what your heart is saying, and He always listens! The best part is that I know He will never go away, or forget me, or die. I always know I’m not all by myself.”
She leans against me, her head on my shoulder. I pull her close and whisper, “And you’re never going to be all by yourself, either.”
“And I can ask my forever father to take care of my dad and tell him to come home?”
“Yes, you can, Sweet Girl. I will, too, and we’ll hope your daddy listens to God.”