Jessica Mathisen lives in Athens, Georgia with her first and forever boyfriend, Rory, and their sweet puppy, Bailey. She is a recovering perfectionist, a former teacher, and a lover of people. Her passion is to communicate God's love to others through writing and relationships. Her favorite things are hanging with her husband, eating chips and salsa, and being a part of the local church. You can follow her on Instagram, too.
God's Heart for the Orphan
“I have learned that I will not change the world; Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person.” –Katie Davis Majors
Mother’s Day was this past Sunday. Mother’s Day is a day when we celebrate our mothers and we say “thank you” for raising us. For wiping our snotty noses when we couldn’t. For being our taxi driver, counselor, nurse, and confidant. It is when we acknowledge the beautiful and selfless love poured out in the most mundane of ways. On Mother’s Day, we give thanks for the daily graces that we often take for granted.
But what about those who have not known a mother’s love? What about those who are unsure of whether or not anyone cares for them? What about those who have no one to run to in the middle of the night when there is a monster in their closet? Whom do they thank on Mother’s Day?
There are an estimated 150 million orphans worldwide, and 450,000 of those are in the United States. Who do these children thank on Mother’s Day? Has God forgotten about them? Does He still have plans for them?
Last year, my husband and I felt a tug on our hearts from God. This tug was a call to become foster parents. You see, we had been “trying” for several months to start our family and weren’t having any success. Foster care had been on our hearts, but it was always something that loomed in the distance. We would become foster parents after we had “our own” kids. We would become foster parents once our lives calmed down. But all of a sudden, God said to stop waiting and start moving.
Why step into hurt and pain and turmoil? Why inconvenience your life for the sake of another? Because God did that for us, and His heart is for the orphan. The thread of caring for orphans is woven throughout Scripture. In fact, Deuteronomy 24:19 shows us how God makes provision for the orphan through His instruction to the Israelites: “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” You see, it would have been easy for the Israelites to hoard all of their extras to themselves. But God’s economy is always completely different from our own, and He asks us to give from the storehouses of abundance He’s given to us, because it was never ours anyway.
God created each and every one of us to thrive within a family. But the enemy is sneaky and wants to shatter any semblance of a family unit in order to further his plan. When children find themselves without a home, God weeps. God’s heart breaks for the fatherless, and He mourns as they mourn. But He also has a plan for them. He has a perfect, ultimate plan to right every wrong, because He is a God of justice and lovingkindness.
Psalm 68:6 says, “God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy” (NLT). God knows the sorrow of the child who has been temporarily displaced. He knows the pain, the fear, and the heartache, and He has made a way for it. In the days following Mother’s Day, will you remember the orphan? Will you ask God to reveal how you can play a part in loving the forgotten?
For those of us who still have mamas, let’s hug them extra tightly this week. For those of us longing to be mamas, let’s surrender our desires to Jesus today. And for those of us who know that the Lord has called us to love the fatherless, let’s allow Him to lead us and love with abandon.