Clay Center, Kansas – History’s first recorded adoption took place generations ago in the land of the Hebrew people. The story is recorded in the Bible, “Haran fathered Lot. Haran died in the presence of his father . . .” (Genesis 11:27,28) Then sometime later, Lot’s grandfather also passed away. Afterwards, Abraham, Haran’s oldest brother, took sole responsibility for Lot. He became like his own son. When Abraham received a mission from God to travel to an unknown land, his nephew came as part of the household, “So Abraham went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him.” (Gen. 12:4)
Abraham walked in faithfulness with the Lord his God, and choosing to care for his nephew exemplified that. The story reveals the heart of God and His expectation for those who believe in Him. The Scripture teaches, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit [or care for] orphans . . .” (James 1:27). Clearly, it is a Christian’s duty to serve parentless children. Lot was orphaned because of the death of his father. Others have come to that place due to tragedy, running away, abduction, or because the parents are unfit and authorities have taken the children.
Orphan can refer either to both parents being gone from the child, or one. They may have a father, but no mother, or a mother, but no father. No matter how children come to this unfortunate place, followers of Jesus, individually or corporately through their church, have a divine charge to come alongside them.
God is the Creator of all mankind and architect of the family. As such, He fights for the family. The Bible describes God in straight forward terms, “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” (Psalm 68:5) God knows evil and injustice fill the world and have broken up families. But He has an answer for it – Himself.
When the people of God reach out to kids who are left alone with no parents to provide for them, those kids will see the face of God. When Christian men and women come alongside the children of single parents, those boys and girls will see the face of God. The hard and sacrificial work of doing good to these orphans, lay the ground work for the gospel in their lives. When one reaches out to the fatherless, motherless or parentless child it is a picture of who God is to each of these children.
And who is He? God is called Father, but not everyone is His child and can call Him Father. He is only Father to those who have turned from their disobedient ways and placed their faith in His beloved Son. In that sense, God has become their adopted Father and they have been brought into the family of God.
They are no longer without father or mother; God through Jesus, has become their heavenly Father. And they are no longer without a family; for in Christ, they have become part of the church, and now have brothers and sisters of various races, languages and backgrounds from all over the world.
Spiritually speaking, every human being is born an orphan. How can that be? From birth we are all separated from God the Father because of sin. And as we grow up, we spend much of our life wandering wherever our selfish and misguided passions take us. From God’s viewpoint, we are lost. However, the grace and kindness of God searches us out because He is a father to the fatherless. He comes to us through those Christian men and women, revealing Himself and His message for us.
A prayer for you – “Father in heaven, we recognize we are separated from you. We admit our disobedience and want to be made right. Through Jesus, become our true Father. Then use us to be a like a father or mother to those who are without. Let them see Christ in us, that they may know you as we do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Clint Decker is President of Great Awakenings. Please share your comment with Clint at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow his blog at clintdecker.blogspot.com.