Crossing the Bridge

Hope and a Future: Even for Suffering Orphans

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If you’ve been reading our weekly spiritual post the last few weeks, you know that we’ve been talking about Kid President's “Pep Talk.” If you haven’t already watched it, take a moment to watch the video above. I’m sure it will leave you smiling.  



 A God Who Plans Ahead

You may be wondering what suffering orphans have to do with a “Pep Talk” by Kid President. You may also be wondering what Kid President has to do with persecution of Christians. This video was a breath of fresh air for me because, while I was watching it, the Lord touched my heart and began speaking to me. He reminded me that He has plans for me that are full of hope.  This, in turn, reminded me that He has these types of plans for everyone, including the suffering orphans.

Often, we look at suffering orphans and those who are persecuted, impoverished or seemingly abandoned and wonder if God truly is in the midst of their pain. Has God forgotten the children? Why does persecution happen? Why can’t children be spared from the pain of life? It all seems so unfair. Children should be loved and cherished by their parents, not left as suffering orphans when tragedy falls. For some reason, the plight of orphans is intensified for me when their parents are martyred. I wonder if they will associate their parents’ deaths for Christ with a loving God who cares for them, or with a distant God who only allows them to feel pain?

These children are often so young when they lose their parents that they don’t understand what’s happened. All they know is that their mother and father were there one day and gone the next. They often feel confused and abandoned. How will they get food? Who will tuck them in at night? How will they stay alive with no one to care for them? They can feel left behind and forgotten.

But here’s the thing. God says that they have not been forgotten. His plan is not for them to suffer, but to be cared for and loved. Scripture even says that He has plans for their lives! When we read Jeremiah 29: 11, it is not just for us, but for everyone; even the suffering orphans. “'For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.’”

They Are Not Forgotten

There will always be pain and tragedy in the world. I don’t have an answer for why it happens, but if you want more discussion on that topic, click here to read "A Thousand Questions for the Suffering Church." In light of that, you might be thinking to yourself, “That’s great. I’m glad God has a plan for them, and that they are not forgotten, but how is that plan accomplished?”  I’m so glad you asked because, you know what? Nothing will change for the defenseless suffering orphans unless someone speaks up and moves on their behalf.  While we can’t stop injustice from happening all the time, we can know what Scripture requires of us in the face of pain and, more specifically, for suffering orphans. 

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” James 1:27

I find it interesting that it is implied that there will be orphans and widows in distress. The solution that we see is not that God snaps His fingers and the pain goes away. The solution is that He uses us, fellow members of the Body of Christ, to be the ones to care for suffering orphans and widows. God wants to partner with us, to dream with us in easing the pain of those around us and around the world.

So, can I propose this? Perhaps part of the plan that God has for you and me, a plan that gives us hope and a future, is to care for the orphan and widow in their distress. Perhaps He has called us to be His hands and feet to a world in pain, especially to our own family in the Body of Christ.

Yes, but HOW?

While I do believe that this is something you should pray about, and partner with God in your response, there are some things that you can do right away. Are there orphans and widows in your community? Find out and see what their needs are and what you can offer in service to them. Sometimes, the biggest need is for someone to sit, hold your hand and cry with you.

How do you help suffering orphans who find themselves the victims of persecution? Pray for them. Pray that the God of heaven and earth meets them in their pain. Pray that He appears to them in dreams and visions, telling them that He is the way, the truth and the life—and that He is near to them.  Seek out projects that help these children and give to them. You can find a few here and know that your funds will go to aid orphans in India, Burma and Egypt.

What will be your “Space Jam?”

So, as Kid President says, “What will be your Space Jam?”  What will be the legacy you leave behind, the thing that makes the world “more awesome?”  For me, I hope that I live a life that helps others and is open to the direction of the Lord. I want to care about what He cares about. I know that He cares about the poor, lonely, sad and those suffering injustice. That is part of His heartbeat, so shouldn’t it be part of mine too? I know I can’t do everything, but I can do a little. I can do the things that God brings to my attention. I can do the things with which He moves my heart. I can also know that He has a plan for me, and I’m pretty sure it involves more than just living a life focused on me and my needs. As a part of the Body of Christ, I have a big extended family out there, and I want to do my part to care for them.



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