By God’s design for my life, strangely I have spent the past decade forming what turns out to be a somewhat “full circle” understanding about the orphan crisis and the trafficking crisis and how those two things undeniably intersect. I do not claim to be an expert by any means on these issues, but the path I have walked in life has given me a front row seat to these issues. Not only was I trafficked myself throughout childhood, but we also have spent the last decade as a family fighting for two orphans. First we fought through the ungodly world systems holding them in place as orphans, and since they have come home, we have spent the last 7 years fighting to see them freed from their identities as orphans.
Since one of them saw more sin and experienced more pain, hunger, abuse and abandonment in her first 5 years of life than many people have ever known, we have a front row seat to this little mirror of my own orphaned heart that is all grown up now.
What I want people to understand is this: There is a common thread that runs through my daughters’ hearts, through my own heart and through the heart of every fatherless child out there, from 1 hour old to 100 years old – the baby who is hungry in an overseas orphanage, the child who is being abused at home and failed by every possible human protector, the teenager in foster care who just ran away again and is about to become the next target of those who traffick the bodies and souls of children, the trafficker himself, and the grown man or woman sitting in church next to us who has never found true freedom from their own orphaned past – and this common thread we all share has a name and that name is FATHERLESSNESS.
God did not design it this way. God made men to be protectors of women and children, and when sin entered this world and Adam and Eve became distanced from their Heavenly Father, the heart of man became orphaned, and I can tell you this: orphaned daddies don’t easily become the godly protectors of women and children that they were created to be.
Instead of being protectors, many actually become predators, trying to fill their own orphaned hearts with what will never suffice. And if not predators, many men whose orphaned hearts have never come to know the peace and sufficiency of a true Father, simply do not have the heart of a true Father. These men are the ones who sit idly by and neglect the protection of their sisters, daughters and wives. Their unprotected orphaned hearts have never learned the art of protection. And so the cycle continues…..
There are statistics and research and papers and articles and theories and rhetoric and intellect that will beat this issue to death and give it many names and faces. But what I have watched play out in my own home in the hearts of my once-orphaned daughters and in my own once-orphaned heart is the truth that FATHERLESSNESS has many faces – but only one cure.
After sin entered the world, God the Father drew boundary lines over and over and over again, always for one particular segment of society.
“Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Defender is strong; He will take up their case against you.” (Prov 23:10)
What is the cure for the rampant fatherlessness on this earth?
It is for the sons and daughters of God, who understand their place as His beloved children, to take adoption to the hearts of the fatherless.
And “adoption” can mean so many things, and really only just one thing: Adoption is the stepping in of a mediator to draw a line between the fatherless and their oppressor and declare “ENOUGH” over the pain and abuse the fatherless have endured.
And doing this requires the mediator(s) in an orphan’s life – no matter the age of that orphan – to claim them as their own. As family. Not as a project, a ministry, a friend….but as true family.
Who is the fatherless in your midst? Is it you? Is it an orphan across the ocean? Is it the woman in your Bible Study who seems so needy? Is it a child in foster care that God has laid on your heart? The little girl next door who always seems so sad?
The verse above make two things clear:
1. Ultimately the fatherless have a strong Defender who will not allow those who take advantage of widows and orphans to go unpunished forever. A day of reckoning will come and those who have pushed the boundaries back further and further, endlessly afflicting those without a protector will answer to their Great Defender, the Creator God.
2. His plan for now is you.
Because you see – a defender of the fatherless is one who draws a line and says “Enough.” Where there has been limitless abuse and neglect and pain that have been unrestrained, God is expecting His people, who know His heart, to step forward and execute the plans of His heart towards orphans.
He is waiting for His people who are willing to lay down their comfort and do what it takes to step between the orphans and widows and their oppressors and draw the line that says, “ENOUGH,” extending a heart of true adoption into their own families.
This can look a hundred different ways. Adopt. Mentor. Foster. Report suspected abuse. Pick up the phone for the thousandth time. Keep praying for trafficking victims. What matters is that you hear God and you do it. Whatever “it” is that He is asking you to do to be one who steps up and says, “Enough.”
And at the risk of making this passionate adventure sound glamorous, I offer this caveat: Delivering fatherless hearts is NOT a glamorous thing to do. At first, everyone loves the idea of being the one to rush in and “save the day” for a fatherless heart. But while we are still on this earth, we fight an enemy for their souls who is not too keen on just letting go. And no matter what you have been called to do in this battle for the hearts of the fatherless, there are going to be days when the battle gets bloody and completely overwhelming.
Walking this battle out with our adopted daughters has often pushed us beyond what we ever thought we could endure. Walking out my own healing has also often pushed us way beyond what we thought we could endure. Seeing a heart delivered from fatherlessness is an exhausting task. But it is what God has asked of us. And so every day we get up and we do it again, and we pray, and we fight, and we talk, and we cry and we keep going back for more. Because if we don’t fight to see their hearts (and mine) freed and ushered into an understanding of their place as a true daughters of God, no one will.
God made it pretty clear that the fatherless and widows are incapable of protecting themselves. Try as they may, their very experience of being orphaned will not allow them to draw a line to protect themselves. The damage is too great, and their strength too little.
No, Church. It is you.
God is looking for hearts that know their true position as sons and daughters of the Most High God to intentionally and sacrificially love the fatherless as their OWN.
So, today, I am challenging you with this: What is holding your heart back from loving a fatherless person with your whole heart? What is keeping you from extending the healing honor of allowing one of His all the way into your own fold?
As sons and daughters of the only true Father, we must seek a true understanding of our adoption through Christ so that we may, in turn, extend our hands in willing adoption of all the fatherless ones around us. Let us be ones who say, “Enough” on behalf of those who cannot heal or protect themselves. And let us lead them to a Father who we truly know as our own.