The cross radically changes orphan ministry. In a lot of our wickedness we must recognize that we are not rescuers…We are not a group of good, altruistic people out to be saviors of orphans around the world. That’s not what drives us in orphan ministry… We must realize that we are the rescued. And the cross is a reminder that we all need to be rescued; that we are not rescuers... Christ is the rescuer, and he has done it at the cross, and that changes everything. Now we love distinctly differently from the rest of the world…We were spiritual orphans in need of a father on high who would care for us, and he reached down and he made us his children. When we realize that, then it makes sense for those who were once orphans and who are now children of the King – it makes sense for every single child of the King to now care for orphans all around them… It’s the mark of Christians to care for the orphan, because we were orphans. - David Platt
I received an email two years ago. Immersed somewhere between the Facebook notifications and junk mail, was a subject line that read “One Baby Matters.” I read through it fast, deleting it soon after. I didn’t gather many details, just that it asked for prayer for an orphanage in South Africa.
“I’ll pray for those orphan babies tonight,” I thought to myself. But somewhere in the midst of homework, Pinterest and J. Crew online sales, my good intentions got buried.
I remembered to check my email again, and every other social media device, but when it came to praying for those orphan babies I forgot. I remembered to ask God for what I needed, careful to name out all of my worries and requests, but when it came to those orphan babies I forgot.
My friend, however, didn’t. She remembered. The next day she came up to me and told me about an email she received asking her to pray for orphans in South Africa.
“We should pray for them,” she said.
“Oh yeah,” I thought to myself, “Those babies I forgot about in that email that I deleted. ”
So two years ago, before going to South Africa was even a thought in my mind, we prayed for those orphans eight thousand miles away.
A year after that prayer, a string of open doors and altered plans led me to those very babies in South Africa.
I met them for the first time on an August day, scattered on a pallet of patchwork blankets. The babies that were once my forgotten prayer, I held in my arms.
How could I possibly forget? I wondered.
For a while I thought it was distance that made me forget; that the reason I ignored the poor and the orphaned and the oppressed was because I couldn’t physically see them. But if it were as easy as seeing, would any of us ever forget? After all, haven’t we all heard stories and seen photos and still managed to go throughout our days as if they didn’t exist?
The reason we forget orphans is far deeper than location, isn’t it? Distance is not what makes us forget the orphan - apathy is. Because the pain and the orphaned and the needy- they are everywhere. Whether it’s the hundreds waiting to be adopted in Mississippi or the millions of others scattered throughout the world; orphans are here- regardless or not of our acknowledgement of them.
During my five months in South Africa, Jesus reminded me that forgetting orphans is a far greater problem than forgetting kids without parents. It’s more than flipping channels past starving children or neglecting to send a check in the mail to a charity.
Forgetting orphans is forgetting the cross of Jesus Christ.
I know from experience that you can travel thousands of miles away and sing them to sleep and feed them their bottles and still forget.
But what if, by the grace of God, we could remember?
What if we remembered that we too were once orphans? Wouldn’t their stories become our own?
If we really remembered how we were once spiritual orphans, it would be a natural response to care for “the fatherless.” If we remembered the price of God’s only Son, the cost of adoption wouldn’t even be something worth thinking twice about. If weremembered how he came to us while we “were still far off,” traveling wherever they are, near or far, it wouldn’t be an issue. If we remembered how we can call out to him “Abba! Father” our ears would hear their cries.
As Christians, we are the adopted. Let us remember our glorious adoption and join together in praying for the millions of orphans around the world during National Adoption Month.
Katherine is a grad student at Mississippi College and will be helping us as we become more effective in telling our story. She's not only a gifted writer but is also the super fabulous artist who created the 'National Adoption Month' artwork at the top of this post as well as our cover photo. Clearly, this girl has mad skills and shares our heart for the orphaned. Stayed tuned as this won't be the last time you hear from Katherine!