1. the Word,
2. the Need, and
3. the Holy Spirit.
Quite simply, the Word is the Bible and must be a person’s highest authority. The Bible tells us that God is the “Father of the fatherless” and compels us to be like him.
Being aware of the Need is also an essential element. It is quite easy to never see the need. It can be quite easy to wake up in safe homes, drive to work in stable cars, spend the day in cozy offices, drive home in stable cars, and spend the evening watching entertaining television.
Here we must remember that orphan care is warfare. What we are talking about is human beings, created in the image of God – the most valuable resource … and worth fighting for. But where is the fight? Where are the fatherless? Are they in my own city, or just in Africa and China?
In my short time peering into the affliction of the fatherless, I have come to the conclusion that fatherlessness is a pandemic. For Christians, this is a serious indictment. We are specifically charged with visiting the fatherless in their affliction (James 1:27).
Do you think I overstate the issue? Here are four suggestions to get you started peering into the Fatherless Pandemic:
- New York Time’s article documenting that 51% of children born to some groups of women, 20 – 30 years of age, have no father figure.
- Jenny, Michael, and Ty at Alabama Heart Gallery – merely representative of the approximately, 5,700 children in Alabama foster care.
- Common Ground Montgomery newsletter from January 2012: relaying the shock of recent speaker who asked how many of the 40 students in the room lived with their father.
- 89% of the 10,280 children killed in abortion clinics in Alabama in 2010 had unmarried mothers.
The last, and most essential element is the Holy Spirit. Hearing the Word and seeing the Need will have no affect on a heart unchanged by the Holy Spirit. Only when we grasp the great mercy of God extended to us, can we move forward in obedience. We deserve Hell for our sin, but what we get is forgiveness and adoption – and future glory.
Only when we daily grasp God’s mercy, through the work of the Holy Spirit, will we be ready to act on the Word to affect the Need.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with adoption?”
“Well,” I may reply, “this is where Christian adoption often starts.” Adoption is one beautiful method of visiting the fatherless in their affliction (James 1:27). Adoption is not the right application for every child and every family. Other wonderful means of visiting the orphan in their affliction could be foster care, Christian orphanages, and community outreach/mentoring programs. Whatever the application, we must keep in mind that our ultimate objective is to offer the remedy to their ultimate affliction – separation from their heavenly father.
The other distinctly recognizable path that Christians often travel in getting to adoption is the desire for the kind of godly offspring that Malachi 2:15 talks about. For more on this topic, visit the blog post, Getting to Christian Adoption.
Photo by Tableatny.