“A Father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation…
The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; but the way of the wicked He turns upside down.” –Psalm 68:5, 146:9
God cares deeply about widows and orphans. There is something about the rejection, trauma, and story of these people that dramatically touches His heart of justice. So much so, that God often defines our relationship with Him by how we relate to them (Isaiah 1:23, 58, Jeremiah 5:28, Matt 25:31-46). It’s true many of us don’t interact with this people group on a regular basis. They’re usually hidden away and ostracized by society. But if we’re looking for them, we’ll find them. They’re the “least of these” Jesus talked about in Matthew 25, the socially awkward, the rejects, the misfits. They’re hidden all around us as Jesus longs to minister to them.
Loretta was in fact an orphan. She came from a broken home and a very hard family life. Up until 6 years old, she went from house to house in the foster care system, mostly with bad families in it for the money. But then a miracle happened. A couple named Tom & Manon embraced the inconvenience of adoption and took her into their family with 3 of her other siblings. They showed her the love of Jesus and her life completely changed. Now she herself is a spiritual mother who cares for the outcast and loves the unwanted. The story is beautiful but there are thousands of children whose stories haven’t turned out that way. Their stories have ended in prison, drug addiction, and sexual abuse, mostly because they never had a loving family or a safe home. The good news is that their lives aren’t hidden to God. He sees each one and His heart burns to bring justice for them. As His body, we’ve been invited to care about what he cares about: caring for the orphan and the widow.
The reason this is on our hearts is because Loretta & I had the opportunity to minister at the “Spofford Home for Kids” last Thursday with our house group. Some friends of ours have been ministering there for some time and invited us to come. It’s hard to explain how we felt when we were there. Most of these 4-12 year olds were suffering the effects of physical & sexual abuse, neglect and mental health disorders. The atmosphere was charged with fear, rejection, and anger and it was painful to see. Yet at the same time, when our group walked in we brought the light of Jesus with us. As we sang worship songs, ate snacks, and shared a story about the love of Jesus, hope began flickering in their little hearts. It wasn’t yet a fire but it was real none the less. By the time we left and finished up coloring & cleaning, the atmosphere in the room had changed. Yet we couldn’t help thinking as we left, “We planted a seed but will it grow?” Would people keep stepping into their lives to disciple them and show them they’re not alone?
The simple answer for these kids is “yes” because the group we went with ministers to these kids twice a week. But many kids don’t have the same opportunity. And that’s where prayer comes in. Through prayer, we can change the lives of thousands of orphans & widows! We can both go and pray. In fact, that’s probably why the group we went with has so much impact on these kids: they pray for an hour before they go. Through prayer we’re able to push back the spiritual powers of rejection, anger, and lust around these kids so that Jesus can be seen. Anyone can do that at any time. Practically, for Loretta & I, that means we’ll be praying for the fatherless two hours per week on Sunday from 4-6pm and probably going to the Spofford home once or twice a month. Maybe for you, it could be picking 1 or 2 people in your life that are rejected or “socially awkard” and putting them on your prayer list; then maybe hanging out with them once or twice a week. God cares for orphans & widows and we can make a difference!