Most of us who have spent any time in church have heard the verse James 1:27: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” We preach on it. We agree with it. We make banners and t-shirts. But I went to an adoption conference this weekend and it opened my eyes and my heart. Dave Gibbons asked us the question: if you were the devil and needed a plan to paralyze the church, what would it be? Maybe it’s not a huge direct opposition. Maybe it’s not a war. Maybe it’s simply sowing the illusion that we’re doing something when we’re actually doing nothing.
Is this what we’re doing with the orphan crisis? We talk about it. We agree with the scripture. All the while a half a million American churches leave a half a million kids in the fostercare program in the US. One kid per church would wipe out the need for fostercare. One family willing to love a child. What if one family adopted a child and 10 other families committed to be a part of the process? Maybe some families committed to giving an amount` of money each month to that family to help them with their bills, but also with the extra things like counseling that may come with a child from a difficult background. What if a few people committed to babysitting for that family a couple of times a month, so the parents could have time to still work on their marriage? What if a carpenter in the church came over and built bunk beds? What if we as the church invested in the raising of a child more than just providing childcare on Sundays?
19,000 kids age out of the foster care system every year with no place to call home. They hit the adult world with no family to go home to on holidays. What if we changed that? What if we used some of the energy we spend picketing abortion clinics, and took care of the kids we DO have? Dr. Karyn Purvis said that the first thing we can do for a child from a difficult background is to give them a voice. To let them know we hear them. To let them know we care. The first two years of a child’s life, all they hear is “Yes, I hear you crying and I’m going to take care of your need.” What about the kids who grew up and stopped crying because no one ever met their needs? I believe God heard every one of those cries, but I believe He may be answering those cries with us. We are how He is meeting their needs.
“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation,” Psalm 68:5. If God is a father to the fatherless and the church is His bride, then we are their mother. Every one of them in need is noticed and mourned by the King of kings, by our bridegroom. Every one. What will we do?