Orphans. Those the world has cast aside and for the most part deemed a scar on humanity. They are all around us, parentless and often homeless. Africa, Korea, China, Mexico, and even in the US. No country is exempt. No one questions their existence, but we often find ourselves questioning our ability to get involved and do something.
A popular slogan in the adoption world is, “Adopting one child won’t change the world, but the world will change for that one child.” Adoption is only one part of the picture in a discussion about orphans. What about all those children who never have the opportunity to be adopted?
Right now in China there is a five year wait to adopt a “healthy” child. Very few of the parentless children in this country will even qualify for adoption. The wait time in adoptions is not based on lack of children who are want of families. I’m not endorsing the following organizations but if you want to know more about orphan statistics check out these sites:
The facts are staggering. Realizing so many are in need may make the task seem overwhelming. But, as a believer, a follower of Christ, we have been instructed to get involved.
God actually set the precedent for caring for the fatherless (and others without means to support themselves) when He gave Moses the Law. Instructions were given to farmers to leave a portion of their crops during harvest; then those in need would gather what was left behind. The story of Ruth gives us a glimpse of this practice. In addition to this, every three years, towns were to give a tenth of that years produce to provide for those having “no portion or inheritance” (Deut. 14:29).
But God’s concern for the fatherless isn’t only demonstrated in the Law. In Isaiah, when God speaks to the people in regards to their sin against Him, He also gives instruction for righteous living (Is.1:16-17). He says, “Learn to do good; seek justice…defend the orphan.” Defending the needy and the fatherless should be a natural way of life for those of us who call ourselves “Christians.”
James, the half-brother of Jesus, put it this way. “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit (or look after) orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James1:27) Caring for the needy, the orphans and widows, is important. It is in the same sentence that tells us to keep ourselves clean and unspotted by sin in this world.
I’m not sure when it started, this heart for the fatherless, but I know that my desire to help and be involved keeps growing. I may not be able to change the world, but I hope to make a difference in the area where my Father has placed me.
We have developed a relationship with a man whose life is devoted to living among the fatherless. We recently visited and talked with some of the kids in this ministry. I was amazed. Most of the kids know their background story. Many are the product of prostitution. They also know their place in society. There is no hope for them in the world of adoption. There is no hope for them within their own city. Without miraculous intervention, there is no hope for them to learn a skill or become educated. They are lost and desperate. But, this man decided to offer them the one thing they need most, hope.
Food, clothing, elementary education, and shelter are provided with an abundance of love. These fatherless children are also learning about our amazing God. They are coming to see Him as a Father to the fatherless and know that He desires to adopt them as sons.
We are excited to be able to partner together with this amazing work. For about $100/month, one child can have all his/her needs met. As we’ve shared this story with our local friends, they have decide to get involved.
They remind me so much of the story of the widow giving her pennies. As westerners we tend to calculate what we can afford and then we ask God how much of that calculation He wants us to give. If the amount is suitable to us, we give. I watch the locals here give not from abundance but from conviction, freely sharing what little they have.
God may have called me here to impact a small area of this part of the world, but in reality, the people here have touched my heart. They have challenged me to live a life of faith, daily. Speaking of challenging, it was actually our workers who introduced us to this particular orphan work. They felt that our restaurant needed to do more to help the needy in our area. And our workers want to be part of that help.
I don’t know what “caring for the fatherless” looks like in your life, but I hope it is there. Even if it is just beginning, I hope you search out and find your place in caring for the orphans in this world.