Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Fatherless

"Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation" (Psalm 68:5).

Last Sunday, many churches around the United States observed Orphan Sunday, a day to reflect on the needs of the more than 140 million orphans around the globe and a day for each Christian to consider what he or she can do for these children in need.

Before engaging in my normal Sunday morning routine of preparing breakfast for my family (which consisted of driving to Quik Trip to buy donuts), I checked my Facebook account. Southern Baptist Seminary dean Russell Moore's status update on that morning has been in my thoughts ever since. He wrote, "Today is Orphan Sunday. Remember the fatherless, and the Fatherless, in your community and around the world."

The needs of the fatherless are overwhelming. More than 140 million children live without parents around the world. Nearly 500,000 American children are in the foster care system of the states. Many of these children grow up on the streets. Many starve to death or die of easily preventable illnesses. Many end up as victims of human trafficking in a world of forced prostitution. Many find their only solace in illegal drugs. Many are lured into gangs. Many are kidnapped and forced into becoming child soldiers for lawless militias that terrorize many nations around the world. They grow up without hope, without love, without guidance, without discipline. They are heading toward a tragic end. They need parents who will love, nurture, and protect them.

The needs of the Fatherless are overwhelming, too. More than 4 billion people around the world do not have God as their Father. They are trying to make it on their own. Sometimes they are following a false god who misleads them into an abusive situation. Sometimes, in efforts to protect themselves in a harsh world, they hurt others and themselves. Sometimes they merely wander through life, surviving in the best manner they can, but never knowing the security of the Father's love. Their lives are heading toward a great tragedy. They need the Father who will love, nurture, and protect them.

Christians are children of the Father. "In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:4-6). As children of the Father, we have been called to care for the fatherless (James 1:27) and to seek out the Fatherless in the world whom our Father wants to adopt as his own (Matthew 28:18-20).

As John Piper said a few weeks ago at the Lausanne Conference in South Africa, "Christians, in the name of Christ, care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering." We care about the physical orphans of the world. We care about the spiritual orphans of the world. With God's help, we will do something positive about their situations.

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