Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Like Bitter-Sweet Chocolate

"Whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" I John 3:17 (NKJV)

My father was an orphan left on a door step in San Francisco in the Nob Hill area when he was a month old. He was then raised in an orphanage in San Francisco. Adopted when he was seven by Minnie and George Segress, he was taken to Visalia, some 75 miles south of Fresno, CA. His original name was Shelton. George loved my Dad. Minnie, not so much. George came home after being gone for two days on a work trip and found Dad (at age ten) locked in the outhouse that served as their bathroom. The weather was in the twenties as it was winter and little Bobbie (they had named him Robert) had almost died from the cold. After George had rescued Bobbie, he walked in the house and punched Minnie so hard that she flew over a table, we learned later. Trauma upon trauma was my father's childhood.

George then took Bobbie to a lumber camp where he had some friends to get him away from Minnie. He grew in strength, although his way was hard, and grew up to lead men in the construction industry.

Touchingly, Dad never forgot his days at the orphanage and sang before he went to sleep: "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to Him belong, we are weak, but He is strong."

A recent mission trip eight of us made to a Rocky Point, Mexico, orphanage meant so much to all of us. We brought donations for a shopping spree with them at Costco. They chose several wagons of milk, a 25 pound roast, etc. for the little ones. I also bought some cookies that weren't on the shopping list to brighten their sweet faces.

The trip meant so much to me as I saw happy, healthy children (about 40) being raised under the Cross on the little chapel at the orphanage. Knowing that I might not be here if it wasn't for orphanages, my heart pictured my father when he was a frightened little boy cold and alone in the darkness and I wept an unnoticed tear.

Orphanages are like bitter-sweet chocolate. The sweetness of the children's' faces is mixed with the bitterness of the reality that so many others aren't being given the love and care that they need.

"At least we can look after some", my quiet heart reminds me. I suddenly feel moisture in my eyes and wonder whether those small tears are because of the joy at some being rescued, or from the fear little ones feel without loving arms to guide and protect them from harm?

I feel led to mention one more thing:

Dear brother and sister: if we obey our Lord, we shall abide in His love (John 15:10), and reach out in love and care to the needy children of this world as Jesus did. Can you remember when you were a little child and afraid and lonely at times yet still had a child's innocent trust? Orphans around the world are waiting for us today with sad eyes and hope that we will come and bring them the love of Jesus.

Looking into the face of Jesus, little children smile and feel safe.

Copyright © 2015 by Bob Segress. Used by permission.

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