Somebody’s Children

Last summer, after sensing the need for a
change of pace, my husband and I drove to
Montreal, Canada ,the largest
French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. It was
delightful and so relaxing. Just what we
needed. The people were friendly, the old city
intriguing, the food wonderful. Montreal is
considered to be one of North America’s most
interesting cities. And we found it to be true.
In fact, we agreed Montreal is one of the most
beautiful cities we’ve ever seen. In two weeks’
time we walked 150 miles savoring all the
sights and delights, and learning about the
history and the greater metropolitan area itself.

One afternoon we found an old-fashioned
ice cream parlor. “It has to be a great place,”
Jack said, “look at all the people!” He patted
his “midsection” and I raised my eyebrows and
we walked in. We found an empty table and
placed our order.

Just as we were being served, two
bedraggled-looking young people came in
each carrying a backpack. They were obviously
exhausted. They spied an empty table where
the waitress hadn’t removed the plates from
the previous customers, and they plopped
down. But just that quickly, they snatched up
the leftovers and wolfed them down. Eyes
darting around, never making eye contact with
anyone, they focused on other empty tables
with plates containing food and quickly ran
from one to the other, stuffing the food into
their mouths. The young woman, whom I
guessed to be about twenty, was more
aggressive than the young man. They were just starved!

It happened so fast that everyone was in a
state of shock. About the time we and others
had recovered from seeing this, they grabbed
their backpacks and were out of the door and
gone. “Jack, if only they’d stayed long enough,
we could have offered to buy them food!” I
was dazed by the brief encounter. “Oh Jack,” I
continued, “I wonder whose child she is
my voice trailed off.

Jack leaned across the table and patted my
hand. The food which had been served so
attractively had somehow lost its appeal. I
looked around and noticed others were feeling
the same way. The charming place which just
moments before had been the scene of
animated conversation now seemed strangely silent.

Jack’s eyes were sad; mine were tearful.

As we left the ice cream parlor and
continued our leisurely walk, my eyes glanced
around. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the
young couple. “There are so many like them
in city after city all over Canada and the
United States,” my husband said.

“Where are the parents?” I asked. Jack
shook his head. Later, as I reflected on the
incident, (in fact, I don’t think I will ever
forget those two young people), I was
reminded that one of the most wonderful
things about being a Christian is that we are
God’s children. Our needs are important to
Him and He is always ready to supply (Phil.
4:19). He knows the way that we take (Job
23:9). I took comfort in the knowledge that
God even knew their names (Isa. 45:4). I
could leave them in the Father’s hands.

As we venture into a new year, we can do so
with confidence, knowing that the steps, as
well as the stops, of God’s children are ordered
by Him (Ps. 37:23). Because we are His
children, we can count on His promises, and
they are so many! Our potential as His
children is limitless.

But we need to be living up to our
potential. How do people know we belong to
God? Three things, it seems to me,
characterize the life of a child of God: (1) Our
conversation; (2) Our conduct; and (3) Our

Our conversation: She (or he) openeth her
mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the
law of kindness
(Prov. 31:26).

My mother had a little saying which I have
called to mind many times: “He that thinketh
by the inch, and speaketh by the yard, shall be
kicked by the foot.”

The Bible is full of counsel about the need
to guard our conversation. Consider just these
few: A soft answer turneth away wrath: but
grievous words stir up anger
(Prov. 15:1). How
many relationships would fare better if these
words were called to mind when people were
tempted to temperamental outbursts! The
tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of
the wicked is little worth
(Prov. 10:20). Silver
reflects. What a beautiful word picture this
presents! Our tongues should reflect the Lord.

Our conduct: We must back up our
conversation with right conduct. Those
beautiful graces depicted in Galatians 5 should
exemplify the conduct of our lives: But the
fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness,
temperance: against such there is no law
(vv. 22,
23). An entire article could be written around
each word, but let me simplify it in this way:
LOVE is a new constraint, JOY is a new cheer,
PEACE is a new compassion,
LONG-SUFFERING is a new continuance,
GENTLENESS is a new characteristic,
GOODNESS is a new character, PATIENCE
is a new confidence, MEEKNESS is a new
courtesy and TEMPERANCE is a new

Our Convictions: The story is told of
David Hume, the agnostic, who was
reproached by his friends because of his
inconsistency. He used to like to go hear the
famous preacher John Brown preach, and
when questioned about this he explained, “I
don’t believe all that he says, but at least once
a week I like to hear a man who declares his

How important for us to have strong
convictions and to abide by them. The letter
of James emphasizes that our “yes” should be a
simple “yes,” and our “no” a simple “no”
(Ja. 5:12). In other words, be convinced in
your heart and stand by your convictions. Be a
man or woman whose word is unquestionable.
If you say you are going to do something, or
you promise something, it ought to be as if
you were in a courtroom and had taken an
oath to speak the truth.

These are just some of the identifying
characteristics that mark us as children of
God. The psalmist said, Mark the perfect man,
and behold the upright: for the end of that man
is peace
(Ps. 37:37). None of us have arrived,
we aren’t wholly perfect, progress is perhaps a
more accurate word to describe our condition.
But we should be progressing.

Perhaps a good prayer would be: “Lord,
help me to reflect the fact that I am your child.”