It was on a pleasant summer’s day…
…that the elderly pastor in our small town was taking his usual walk after spending the day in study. The good man was pressing with softly trembling steps the sods which covered many of his beloved parishioners, when he came to the spot where lay his wife and three beautiful daughters, whose loveliness, like the opening rose, was blasted ere it was fully exhibited. The pastor leaned on his cane and bent over the graves, and was just marking out by their side, the spot where he hoped to lie in peace, when he was startled by the sounds of sobbing of a child. He turned, and at a distance, beheld a lovely little white-headed boy who was kneeling and sobbing over the freshly dug grave of his father.
“Recognizing the elderly man as a pastor he cried, “Oh sir, let me cry for my father—he lies deep in this grave; they tell me that he will never again be my father.”
In a confused rush the child went on, “I afraid I offended him. But he is dead, dead, dead. I want to cry all night. I would do anything if he would come back to me! But he will not come; just a few days before he died, –Oh, I do remember it—he told me that he was going to leave me, that I should never have a father anymore; and he stroked my hair with his sick hand, and told me that I must be a good boy and love God—Oh, Father, father, my poor dead father!”
The feeling pastor pressed the hand of the sorrowing child within his; and ere he could answer him, the old man had wet the silken hair of the orphan with his tears.
The pastor’s first object was to soothe the young child into his confidence, and then direct him to the Father who would never forsake him. With patience he satisfied the young boy’s curiosity respecting death—how it was a long sleep, but that the voice of God would one day awaken even the dead, including his father. He told him how death was introduced into this world, and made him understand that it was the consequence of sin. He next strove deeply to impress upon the young lad, what is “the chief end of man;” and thus concluded while his little hearer hung upon his every word.
“And now, my dear young boy, you have indeed lost a tender father; but I have been trying to point you to a Father who has promised never to forsake a poor orphan.”
“But,” says the child, “what is it to be an orphan?”
“It is to be left destitute of parents while we are yet children.”
“Oh yes, but what do you mean by a ‘poor orphan’?”
The clergyman was affected, but replied, “It is a child who is left destitute of property, as well as parents.”
“Oh, I wish,” said the child in the simplicity of his heart, “I wish that I was a poor orphan, if God would be my father.”
The good minister wept; for he knew of the child’s wish respecting property, would be fully satisfied.
It was now dark, except what light was afforded by the twinkling stars. As they left the graveyard the aged shepherd directed the attention of his lamb to these wonderful works of God, and his heart beat with joy when he exclaimed, “My Father made them all.”
He led the orphan to his place of residence—soothed his grief—assuaged his sorrows, and eventually made him his child.
It should be a matter of consolation to dying parents that there is One who hears even the “young ravens when they cry,” and provides for the fatherless.
“But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.” –Psalm 10:14