I really had no idea that Isaiah 1:17 would wreck me so much. Compounded with the trip to visit orphans, that verse has made my life outgrown the box that I built for it. I can’t seem to escape it. I find it on Twitter, Facebook, in my devotions. Seriously. There’s a little girl on a World Vision ad who follows me around the Internet (I know, I know. This is the result of Internet marketing.) I’m finding fairly tangible ways that I know I’m supposed to live out Isaiah 1:17. It is all unexpected. But isn’t that how God works?
I’ve been thinking a lot about family. (Maybe because so many women I know are pregnant or just had their babies. Seriously, what is in the water???) Our culture often emphasizes the biological family, but I think God has a bigger definition of family. We know families who have grown through adoption. We have a number of friends we consider “family” and would do whatever for, even though we are not related. And so many of our friends are being blessed as they prepare to bring their (biological) child into the world. Family, in whatever form it comes, is beautiful.
As we have considered what form our family may take in the coming years, I cannot deny that my heart is drawn to the orphan. I had a moment in Rwanda that just broke my heart for the children who do not get to know the love of a mother and father. In this drawing to the orphan, I have come to see God with new eyes. I think God’s heart beats for the orphans. The writer in Psalms calls God the “father to the fatherless.” Paul recognizes that we were the fatherless before Christ. God set history to ensure that we wouldn’t be “fatherless” forever:
In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:5)
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Gal 4:4-6)
Adopted as sons. Children of the Most High. We get to have the same privileges as Christ. This concept has radically changed my perspective of God. I knew, on some level, that God was our heavenly Father. I mean, I suppose this isn’t the first time that someone has realized this concept. It’s only recently that that concept has really hit me between the eyes and grown in my heart. The process of (earthly) adoption often involves a lot of sacrifice – time, money, patience. But God gave the greatest sacrifice to make us His children.
By some estimates there are more than 150 million orphans worldwide. That’s 150 children that have lost one or both of their parents. My heart breaks for them. Who tells them that they are precious to God? Who tucks them in at night? Who prays with them when they are scared? Who kisses their boo-boos and give them a band-aid when they are hurt? Who holds them to make sure they know that they are loved?
I didn’t expect to continue to think about the children I met in Africa. They have stolen my heart.
I suppose that was the point.