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It’s fun to see newcomers to the hunting and fishing sports. Whether it’s an adult or youth, both bring a fresh sense of excitement that is contagious. And after a few times in the activity, they consider themselves a part of this special group. This extended family usually calls for new equipment, gear, and all the clothes and accessories that go along with this new-found identity. What’s great about this is not only have these individuals found a place to fit in, but whoever introduced them to these sports are equally excited to have them as part of their family.
One of the greatest feelings is to be wanted. Especially when a person has perhaps come from a place where they were not wanted before. As I mention this, I am thinking about the hundreds of thousands of children in America who are in Foster Care. Of those in this care, some are still wanted by their biological parents, but most are not. And not only are most not wanted by their biological parents, but they are also moved many times in their lives from place to place – undoubtedly feeling unwanted. Two of my own adult children have gone through the foster process and because of that, I am the proud poppy of an adopted boy. But my heart breaks for the many children I have met who not only needed to be loved but who also needed to be wanted – even through their kicks and screams of rebellion, which were only kicks and screams from internal pain. My heart also goes to them because I’m afraid of the picture they might get of God. That he too doesn’t want them – at least as they are. And he surely will get rid of them if there is any spark of disobedience, they assume. And yet, that is far from who God is and we must do our part to portray him as he really is – especially to those who have lived in unwanted or unaccepted places.
If you are one of those who have lived your life feeling unwanted or unaccepted, let me offer a small word of encouragement by letting you know that not only does God love you, but he wants you. And not only does he want you, but he will never let you go. Yes, even through your kicks and screams of pain disguised as rebellion. He knows your struggles and understands your doubts. And he still wants you just as you are. Will he change you? Of course. But no more or less than he does any of us who are in the family. This big world is undoubtedly hard and even unfair. But know that God thought so much of you that he didn’t want to create this world without you in it, and without you with him forever. You are loved. You are wanted. And what God loves and wants, he keeps. You are home now.
n Gary has three books that are compilations of the articles he has written for nearly 15 years. He also speaks at game dinners and men’s groups for churches and associations. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.