Last week, I had the privilege of attending The Summit, a yearly conference held by Christian Alliance for Orphans which consists of leaders worldwide gathering together to collaborate and learn about how we can continue to serve vulnerable children across the globe. It was such a beautiful time of togetherness where we got to honor the Lord for not just what He is doing, but also for what He has already done for us.
During the week, I was able to spend a lot of time reflecting on the ministry we are beginning to embark on. I thought about the children we will be working with and how my view of them was often very pure in heart, but also very incorrect.
I began to think of how I referred to the orphan situation in Guatemala. I would often refer to it as an orphan problem, or as a little more catchy term, “orphan crisis”, which very much has the same meaning. As I would listen to testimonies from the various speakers, I was really convicted in how I referred to the situation. Because in fact, the orphan truly is not the problem. Here I was, taking children (a child is a person), and referring to them as a burden. A child who did not chose the life they live. A person who had nothing to do with the situation they are in.
How so often do we resort to orphan care as an extra task? As if it is some sort of problem we will get to if we can. It is not supposed to be an extra task, it is supposed to be an act of response and worship!
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.
Isaiah 1:17 – learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.
Matthew 18:5 – “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me..”
In reality, the orphan truly is not the problem.
The problem is our understanding of the Gospel.
As we once were left alone in a world of sin, God, through His son Jesus Christ, rescued us, and promised to not leave us alone as orphans. We were promised to be taken under His wing as a father, and to be lead through life. Our care for the fatherless should not be out of obligation, but rather out of a desire to bring God the glory He deserves. To love the child who has been left alone, just as we were once left alone.
May we all drop the trendy orphan crisis terminology, and be radically transformed by the overwhelming love of our Father. May we no longer remain silent, for through our silence our hearts speak. May we be forever changed by our Father's love.