Sunday, November 8, 2015

Orphan Sunday

November is National Adoption Month and today is Orphan Sunday. I'm sitting here trying to sort out all that this means for my family and for the Gospel. Needless to day, there is a LOT swirling around in my head today. The care of orphans is so very central to the heart of God. His love for the fatherless was the catalyst for sending Christ to the cross. His death and resurrection are the means by which we can be adopted into God's family. A deep sacrifice that led to the creation of a beautiful family.

This truth is one I have heard countless times before. But it is different this year.

This year I know what it is to get a phone call telling you that you have a son. I know that it is to walk into an orphanage and see the child you love, your own child, sitting among the fatherless. I know what it means to stand before a judge and tell him, "Yes, I understand that this {the adoption of my child} is permanent and cannot be undone.” I know what it is to walk out of an orphanage with your child in your arms and know that the term “orphan” no longer applies to his life. I know the vast and glorious reward that comes from fighting for your child.

The harsh reality is that there are 153 MILLION orphans living on our planet today. That number is far too staggering to comprehend. I don't think I have ever seen 153 million of anything, let alone children who need and DESERVE families. And because that number is so mind-numbingly huge, it is easy to ignore. I used to have this discussion with my students when we studied the Holocaust and the loss of six million Jewish lives in one war. We would talk about how the enormity of the number tempts us to hold it at arm's length, to keep it impersonal. And then we would talk about how wrong it is to do that.

The same holds true here. One hundred fifty three million children without families is not acceptable. It should not be acceptable to a secular society with any kind of moral compass, but it most certainly should not be acceptable to the church.

We, as Christians, have been adopted. We were spiritual orphans, and God DID SOMETHING ABOUT THAT. He MOVED. He SACRIFICED. And He did so because of LOVE. He loves us. Enough that He was willing to do the unthinkable to redeem us unto Himself.

How then can we, as recipients of such lavish love close our hearts and homes to those who are exactly where we were? We simply cannot. We cannot let that number intimidate us or keep us from action. We cannot fall victim to the lie that because we cannot do everything that we might as well do nothing. There is not an immediate solution to the orphan crisis. It is something that will be taken on one life, one child at a time. And that is OK. All we have to do is being willing to walk where God leads.

Clearly, I am an adoption advocate. Adoption gave me one of my most precious gifts: my son, but please know that I am not saying every Christian should adopt (although I would love that!). I am saying that every Christ follower must be involved in some way in caring for the fatherless. It is God's heartbeat. He commands it. And it is too beautiful for words.

There are so many way to do this:

-Foster care
-Orphan care ministries
-Orphan prevention ministries
-Birth mother ministries
-Respite care for foster families

God calls us to love the world and that means loving the people who live in it.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” 
John 13:35 

“For He chose us before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ in accordance to His pleasure and will, to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.”
Ephesians 1:4-6

With deep love,

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