“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”– Jesus
The very existence of orphans shows us that something has gone terribly wrong in creation. It’s been estimated that there are 143 million orphans in the world. Just for perspective, that’s almost half the population of the United States. In other words, that is 1 orphan for every 47 people in the world.
As Christians we understand that the orphan crisis has a direct connection to the devastation of sin brought about by the fall of man. Consider the reasons why children are abandoned. These children have lost their parents because of war, genocide, natural disaster, disease, poverty, and the list goes on and on. The root problem goes back to the garden; sin is the “great orphan maker.” As Christians, we know that Christ destroyed the power of sin at the cross, and offers redemption by grace.
As Christians we are adopted as sons and daughters and God uses us as the vehicles by which he demonstrates his love to a lost world. Think about it, the church is the community that gives the world a foretaste of the renewed creation, when all things will be “made new”. We have the responsibility of living now in light of what will one day be. And, who is more fully equipped to address the global orphan crisis than the church is?
We are the people who have been entrusted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the eternal message of hope. We understand that “one day the very word orphan will be eliminated from the human vocabulary.” But until that day comes we as a church have a responsibility to proclaim the gospel not only in word, but in deed. Remember what James wrote, “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.”
Ed Stetzer has rightly said that “even the un-churched know that Jesus was involved in social justice, and they often wonder why the church is not. You are the church” I believe that God is moving in the global Church right now on behalf of these children. Let’s be honest, 143 million is a very large number. Now, some of these orphans end up in relatives homes, but many of them don’t. If these children survive it is because of orphanages, foster homes, and adoption. How can God use you in the work of orphan care?
Here are some wonderful resources on orphan care;