Do You See the Fatherless, or Are You Not Looking?

by Joel Littlefield June 24, 2016

I’ve never seen an orphanage in real life. I picture what they must be like, and a mix of emotion floods my heart. On one hand, I’m grateful that there are such places in the world. To think about where those millions of children would be otherwise horrifies me. The four walls, at the very least, are protecting precious life from the elements and the laborers inside are providing much needed human contact.

On the other hand, orphanages are a reminder to me that there is deep-rooted corruption in our world. They remind me of the cold disregard that people have for the things which God loves and cares about most. Plain and simple, an orphanage means there are orphans inside; young boys and girls who probably have never known the love of a parent or seen much of the light of the sun. Some arrive by way of abandonment; simply unwanted by the very person who should want them most in this world. Others get there because disease plagues their homeland and before they grow up their parents were dead.

I see that orphanages serve a purpose, but I know it’s not what God wants.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
John 14:8

God wants to empty the orphanages. That’s why Jesus came. After His passion, His resurrection and ascension He sent the Spirit into the world to be our hope. God the Spirit searches our hearts and knows the mind of God. He is like the wind and goes wherever He wishes; blowing into the lives of the lost to bring reconciliation where there is brokenness and abandonment. His mission is the Fatherless. He loves the fatherless and is committed to them.

This is why adoption is so important and should be held in highest regard in the Church. It’s the very basis of our salvation. It’s the heart of our Father. It’s the passion of Jesus. It’s the mission of the Spirit; to bring to himself a people who are not his own and make them His own through sacrificial love.

There are millions of children filling the streets of America, the trash-heaps of India and the orphanages of Europe. They are nobodies to the majority of the world but they are not overlooked by God. He sees them and He knows their names, just as He knew yours before the worlds were made. Yes, it’s an emotional mess to get involved with adoption in any capacity. It’s a total life-changer and a commitment to serve. It’s a willingness to step away from the life you know now and become the source of hope for the hopeless. But that is exactly what Jesus did to pull you from the orphanage you were in. You were lost but He found you and He found you because He came for you.

Maybe you, too, have never seen an orphanage. Maybe, for whatever reason, whether for lack of care or lack of strength, you never even consider the fatherless around you. That all needs to change. If we stay blind and apathetic to this problem then how are we being like Christ to this world? Can we say we love our neighbor while we disregard the orphan?

Examine your heart and the heart of your Heavenly Father. If He had written you off where would you be? You’d still be in the orphanage. You’d still have no hope, no inheritance, no family and no home in Heaven. Don’t write them off. They may be out of sight and out of mind in your current situation. But I’m convinced God wants to change your situation and your vantage point so that you simply cannot ignore it any longer. It may not be adoption or foster care that He’s calling you to, but even just visiting the fatherless in their affliction is considered among the most holy and Christ-like of actions. In order to visit them you must first let Christ open your eyes to see them the way He sees them.

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.
James 1:27

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