By Rev. Mark R. Youngquist, Swedesburg Lutheran Church
Do you remember hearing about the orphan trains? The Orphan Train movement ran from 1854 until 1929, carrying an estimated 150,000 children from New York City, at a time when poverty, and the city?s swelling immigrant population, resulted in overcrowding, disease, and death. The purpose of the orphan trains was to take orphans to farming families in the Midwest who could offer loving homes and a new life. Homes where these abandoned children could become a part of a family, a place where they truly belonged.
St. Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, ?For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ?Abba! Father!? it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ ? if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.? (Romans 8:14-17)
These words of scripture point out that many of us are living like orphans, when we are, in fact, children of God. Many of us are still riding the Orphan Train. Why? Because we have allowed the spirit of slavery to take us prisoner, pulling us back into a life filled with fear.
We do face many problems in our life. Worry and fear continually try to take over our lives. But we do not face the world alone. We have a companion.
God has made Himself known to us in three special ways. He has come to us as God the Father, the One who created us and only wants the best for our lives. He has made Himself known to us in the person of Jesus Christ, the One lifted up on the cross for our salvation. And then there is the Holy Spirit, constant companion, comforter, and guide. With God for us, who, or what, can be against us?! We don?t have to face the world alone.
Is there something in your life that is keeping you from being all that God created you to be? Is there some fear that robs you of your peace of mind? May we all be reminded this day to lay these things before God, and to begin to live, not as an orphan, but as a child of God.