Warning: if you are not passionate about orphans yet, you might be offended by this post. Or you might let the Lord touch your heart and make you passionate :)
Yesterday at Bible study we watched session 6 of Beth Moore's James study. The first part of the session dealt with James 4:9-10, and when is it appropriate to change our joy into gloom, and our laughter into mourning. She listed 4 situations in which we should be grieved at our own selves and change our joy to gloom. Point number two was "When we don't take God seriously." This is a frightening thought in and of itself, that we should be cavalier in our attitude toward a holy, almighty God. She went on, however, to talk at length about a verse just prior to this, verse 5. In the NET it is worded, "Or do you think the Scripture means nothing when it says..." (italics mine) Then she listed several examples of commands of the Lord that we often do not take seriously. I won't take time to list them here, but I'll give you one guess as to how I filled in the ... Do you think the Scripture means nothing when it says take care of the orphans???!!!! It seems to me that the church as a whole does not take this command of the Lord seriously at all. If it did, there would not still be millions of orphans worldwide suffering unimaginable abuse and neglect. Children would not be left to lie in cribs, untouched, dirty, hungry, bored or hopeless. Ministries like Compassion International and Samaritan's Purse would run out of children needing sponsors. Adult mental institutions in Eastern Europe would no longer be home to vulnerable children who just need a chance to live. And foster care in America would cease to exist because children would have families to call their own.
But this is not the reality. The reality is that most Christians are doing nothing to help the orphans. And the church is largely silent about this grievous sin. (I am talking about the church as a whole, not any individual congregation. Many individual churches do "get it" and are a wonderful example of caring for the fatherless!) We have no problem preaching against alcohol, adultery, anger, gossip, etc. And we feel justified when we cast out those who fall into such sin. (We aren't, by the way.) But what would happen if caring for orphans became the norm, instead of the exception? What if pastors started teaching that not caring for the orphan is as much of a sin as any of those other things? Because it. is. Or do you think the Scripture means nothing when it says...
If you're not in tune with the adoption world, you might not know that Russian President Putin signed a new bill/law this week, shutting the door on American adoption of Russian children. And maybe you don't think this is such a big deal. But for the 46 families who are already matched with children, it's devastating. And for the thousands of children still waiting for a family to choose them, well, it's catastrophic. Healthy children will be turned out on the street at age 16, while special needs children will be sentenced to a life in an adult mental institution. Church, we need to wake up!! We need to pray!! God CAN change this decision. He can change hearts. He can move mountains to bring orphans home. But we are not off the hook. We can't sit and do nothing. We can't expect someone else to pray or to fast on behalf of the least of these. We. Must. Do it. Many people all over the country and are praying and fasting today about this very issue. But one day is not enough. We need God to open our eyes and awaken our hearts, so that the plight of the orphan becomes part of our everyday lives. Both in words and in deeds. Please, please ask the Lord what YOU should do. I promise the answer will not be "nothing."