It is sobering to ponder the realities of the boys in the juvenile prison in Thailand in which we work. This was clarified in pondering a previous “sport day” inside the juvenile prison as we observed the guys in our Mission: 300 program and another 200+ inmates during the scheduled tournaments.
The overall assessment of the future of these young men here is bleak. We have 12 – 24 year old’s in pursuit of some kind of grouping in order to build some semblance of identity. To many of them, it is their only real family. It is part of the reason that over 50% will find their way back there after release.
Only 2 out of 10 have any concept of a father, yet they are pursuing one. The reality is that fatherlessness, more than ANY other factor, surpassing race, social class and poverty, is found at the root of most if not all our social issues. It is not just in Thailand, but around the world.
Make it Known
This next part is critical to use the soap box. Not often will you hear of my passion to address this problem, but I am going to risk it today. We need to make fathering to the fatherless famous in the local church. Rather than moving church away from the social problems, we need to be moving front and center with this solution. We need to add some examples for these young men to follow. They don’t want to hear any more words (parents you should know this well), but an example to follow. How did the words change us? Money, food, and special packages have a place, but what the kids crave is a human being full of the God we preach, a father figure. These boys want to see character, mercy, truth and belief modeled. These boys need someone who is patient to see the real person inside them and draw it out. The fatherless need a father and someone who is from the Father. Someone who can see into their lives and bring forth the treasure that has been hidden.
Identity from the Father
They are not looking for safety, they are looking for an identity and something to live for. Many good works have gone before but so many who have been helped have more often been mothered into gildings, trail horses with the only real passion to keep pace with the horse in front of them and making sure their nose does not get too close. This is not fathering. It is easy to train a wild stallion, but almost impossible to release a gilding. A good father calls out his children into an unsafe world with him, because the father trusts the child has what it takes. We see the lack of a father in the life of David. His own father did not call him into something greater. It took a prophet to come personally, a voice from the Father, to declare he was the king. He came with personal words and something tangible, the ceremony of oil. Words that would shape the identity of a young shepherd boy.
Our world is filled with modern day Samson’s, David’s, Gideons, Paul’s, Josephs, Joshua’s, Esther’s, Ruth’s, Abrahams, Peters, Johns and Paul’s. They are just waiting to hear the Father call them out. I believe many are sitting in front of us. They just need another living epistle, someone they could look upon and handle who is melded with with Word of Life to reveal their real Father.
Testimony of hearing the Father’s voice
Listen to our podcast for more on fatherlessness.