I grew up in a city that had large Children’s Homes. I never really understood the issues of the children that lived there. But I knew they rode a bus to school daily, seemed to always be in trouble, and were not with their parents. Little did I know that God had a plan for me to serve children from hard places and to care for orphans as my life’s work.
For twenty years I’ve worked with foster children from Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. My wife and I have been foster parents. We have cared for beautiful children who, through no fault of their own, were abandoned by their parents. I know hundreds of other parents who have opened up their homes to this vulnerable population. This is an awesome task. It is not to be taken lightly.
More than a Fad
A couple of years ago being a foster parent seemed like a fad among many in the church. Caring for orphans was a cool and trendy thing to do. People were getting involved without totally understanding the inconvenience and pain of this work.
Foster parents soon discover that it takes great courage and grit to love children who have been displaced. Children whose lives have been disrupted. It’s not easy work. Caring for orphans starts with loving God. Because of His great love for us, we love others. Throughout Scripture, we read of God’s love. Then we care for the downtrodden and oppressed, the widow and orphan—the most vulnerable in society. He commands his people to do the same.
The local church can make a difference in the lives of children in our local communities. As gospel launching pads, foster families in local churches can bring the love of Christ to children who have not known anything like this kind of love. It’s so rewarding to watch how God does his work when we make ourselves available to him. I hope that someone reading this will experience this same joy.
More than Worth It
Those who enter this work are not to be fainthearted. There will be many times when a foster parent’s heart will be broken. It is in those times that they need their church community. The local church has a unique opportunity to make a huge difference in the lives of children as well as among those serving in local and state governments through the foster care system. My wife and I were surprised at how many opportunities to share the gospel we were provided with as foster parents. The light of the gospel will shine bright in the darkness.
The church should lead the way in serving the most vulnerable of society. Christians are to be courageous and engaged in doing the hard things required of seeking the welfare of their neighbor. It’s not for us who love God to shrink back while we wait for others to step up and take care of children who have been abandoned, abused, or neglected.
It’s an incredible picture of the gospel when church members set aside their lives to care for the those who are vulnerable in our society. Yes, it will break your heart. But we must consider what God has done through his Son, Jesus, whose heart was broken for us so that we would not be orphans in this world.