I remember when I knew that I was going to be a father. I was 27 years old and positive who my wife was to be--Rebecca. However, I wrestled with becoming a husband and a father in the same breath. Rebecca had a 7-year old son, Seth, and I knew absolutely nothing about being a father. One night, a friend asked me a profound question: are you defined as a child of God or as a father?
Through the power of a Holy Spirit slap, I realized that I am defined as a child of God. God sent His son to rescue and adopt me into His family. And now, he calls me son and immediately after saying that out loud, I knew that I was Seth's father even if he didn't know he was my son yet.
The Bible teaches that God is a good father who pursues his children despite where they've been and what they've done. And if the church is called to mirror the love of Christ, what does this look like for the life of an orphan?
THE CALL TO ORPHAN CARE
Let's fast forward almost 4 years and some legal fees. The legal process to adopt my son has been challenging and sanctifying because there's so much to know in order to provide a fair and smooth trial. The constant reminder of God's pursuit has been the fuel for our journey and for my family and I, we know this path is to satisfy our legal system and we will submit to that, but as for Chango and I, there's nothing that can separate me from my son.
Part of God's identity is that he is a Father who pursues His children (Psalm 68:4-6) and is present in their lives. God, in His love, sent His son to die for sinners; reconciling us to the Father. In other words, because of the person and work of Jesus, we now have a relationship with the Father! As His children, we're called to reflect the same love that He has shown us so that others might come to know Him.
There's a myth among Christians that caring for orphans is reserved only for the "elite." However, I wish to submit to you that not only is that myth unbiblical, but the call to care for orphans is a command from the Scriptures (James 1:27). You and I know what it looks like to be rejected, broken, uncared for, unvalued, homeless, hurt, and in struggle. Yet, God in his grace, mercy, and love threw Himself into the chaos of our lives to rescue us.
Earlier and in the same chapter, James writes to be doers of the Word not hearers only (James 1:22) and my observation is that the church equates pew attendance and Amen's to action. Church, we're deceiving ourselves if we consider hearing doing.
The question isn't whether or not you're called to participate in this restoration, but how you can get involved.
In the great state of Texas there are over 30,000 kids in foster care. Over 40% of kids in Hidalgo county are in foster care and the need for families to come in and provide homes for these kids or temporary relief for foster parents (such as date nights) are increasing every year.
The opportunity to become involved in orphan care is numerous as one can start by simply getting informed, becoming respite or babysitter certified, or taking the big step toward fostering and perhaps adopting a child.
All of this is not meant to guilt you, but it is meant to challenge you. Our first evaluation must be that of the gospel and who God is and what He has done for us. We can only move forward if the gospel is the foundation of our walk--otherwise, we will move forward to satisfy a moral checklist. But the call of the believer is founded under the work of the Gospel in our lives, for we, church, are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a dying world.
As we move into the new year, our goal at Storehouse Community Church is to provide practical avenues on how to engage in the restoration of the children in our city and beyond. Our goal is to provide resources and develop partnerships as means for you to get involved.
Yesterday we hosted Compassion Sunday, an annual opportunity where we talk about our partnership with Compassion International and invite members of our church to join us on mission by sponsoring and supporting kids from Guatemala. We have been developing on going relationships with the local churches in Antigua and Guatemala City in addition to several missionaries who serve in the people of Guatemala in a variety of ways. Over the last 3 years, we've sponsored over 100 kids in Guatemala and are looking to take our second trip to Antigua in the summer of 2018.
Compassion International is a great first step to getting involved in orphan care. If you have any questions on Compassion International or simply looking to learn more information on orphan care, feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.