Answer the Cry – How we all can care for orphans

Tucked right into the midst of chapters 19-24 of Exodus, wherein God is handing down the law to Moses and the Israelites, is a seemingly misplaced, but important, promise to the orphan. “If they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry” (Ex. 22:23). Now, it sounds great to say that God will answer the cry of the orphan, until we consider the nature of his response. The question becomes: How will God answer the cry of the orphan?

The church is God’s plan for the orphan. You are God’s plan for the orphan. With Orphan Sunday tomorrow, it is a timely opportunity to reflect on what it means to be God’s plan for the orphan. That is, how are we to answer the cry of the orphan? Kim and I may be called to adopt, but not everyone is. But everyone of us is called to be God’s plan for the orphan. Let me briefly outline a few potential next steps for each of us…

  • Adoption
    • Worldwide estimates say there are between 145 and 165 million orphans worldwide. They need a home. Maybe your family is being called to adopt either domestically or internationally. Go, find your child!
    • Care for adoptive families: Maybe you can’t adopt. But do you know an adoptive family? They need your support and encouragement. Focus on the Family has written a booklet entitled, Wrapping around Adoptive Families, that is available as a free download and uses the acronym WRAP as a description on how you can support an adoptive family.
  • Foster Care
    • Did you know there are a half million kids in foster care in the United States? Consider being a foster family. Growing up, my family was. We had 17 different kids stay with us at some point ranging from overnight to 3 years. Look up local foster agencies near you and start the process.
  • Advocacy
    • These children need a voice. Lend them yours and speak out for them. Let me suggest two ways to speak out.
    • Share with others: Speak with family members, church friends or even teach a children’s Sunday School class about God’s heart for the orphan.
    • Start a movement within your church: Imagine if care for the orphan became part of the mission of your church and there was a culture of adoption and/or you actually had a formal orphan ministry in the church?
  • Prayer
    • We can never say this enough: these kids need your prayer.
  • Financial Support
    • Help pay the ransom for an adoption: Domestic adoptions can cost as much as $20,000 and international adoptions are typically between $25,000 and $30,000. Consider supporting a family pursuing adoption by helping pay their adoption costs.
    • Sponsor a child: Sign on with an organization such as Compassion or World Vision to sponsor a child somewhere in the world. For your monthly gift, you provide food, medical attention, clothes, schooling and the love of Christ to a single child. Almost all of us can do this right now!
    • Sponsor an orphan home: Maybe as a church or even just your small group could get together and say that you want to support an orphan home. I have worked with World Orphans and love their model of partnering an American church with an indigenous church to care for orphans in that country.
  • Volunteer
    • Go volunteer at a foster agency, adoption agency, pregnancy center or even tutor. Stuffing envelopes in any of those places is a vital service to caring for orphans or, even better, preventing a child from becoming an orphan.
  • Short Term Missions
    • Nothing will change your life like getting out of the ordinary and everyday and onto the mission field. You will see how these kids live, what they eat, the little (in any) schooling they receive and, in the process, experience God’s heart for them. Go.

These are just a few of the next steps you and I can take. Given that we are God’s plan for the orphan, how will you respond? If you want to know more about Christian organizations that are serving the orphan, visit the pretty comprehensive list at Christian Alliance for Orphans.

Interact: How will you respond? What are you going to do to care for the orphan?

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