According to a UNICEF report, it is estimated that there are between 143 and 210 million orphans worldwide. After considering abandoned and trafficked children, the population easily rises to over 300 million children. That number is far too big. Yet, unfortunately, each year the number of orphans only seems to grow. Sadder still is that much of what is done to help alleviate suffering does not seem enough. Orphanages are over-run and under-developed. The foster care system is broken. Abuse, neglect, and other intrinsic problems run deep. But there is hope! And there is a God who sees us, knows us, and is calling us out to bring restoration. He teaches us: “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of the orphans. Fight for the rights of widows” (Isaiah 1:17). By the way, this is a command, not a suggestion.
How can you help?
The problem seems so big it’s hard to wrap one’s mind around it. What can be done? You are just one person, after all, right? Right. But God seems to have a practice of changing the world with just one willing person—simply check out the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. So, despite overwhelming odds, you can make a life-changing, eternally-significant difference. Not everyone can give everything, but everyone can give something. Here are the most practical things you can give to impact the life of a child in need.
Your time is precious, but there are little hearts who have never been given the time of day. They have been neglected and abandoned, considered unworthy of attention. God hears their cries and he gives them his ear and hand. You, too, can give your time as a volunteer or a mentor. Sometimes it makes all the difference for a child to just have a listening ear and not be judged. It may have only been a couple of hours out of your weekend, but it was the first time anyone ever took notice of this little one. Children’s homes such as His House (hhch.org) are always looking for those who would volunteer their time to help take care of his children. So look them up and check them out!
Now, God does not need our stuff. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Yet, he loves to take our few loaves and small fishes to feed the multitudes. Whether you have a lot or a little makes no difference to him. What he wants is your heart. Your donations and financial contributions can give a child things they would never have access to otherwise: food, clothes, shelter, school supplies, toys, etc. There are many great organizations out there which focus on child sponsorship such as Compassion International and World Vision.
This is most important, and it comes at the greatest cost, but it is so worth it. What a child needs more than anything else is someone to love them, to show them unconditional love like God has shown us. How can the children of the world know and understand that God loves them if they have never experienced love in their lives? How can they accept the love of a Heavenly Father if they have never known what a father is? Well, for some odd reason God has this plan for changing the world and that plan is us. It is you. His plan for reaching the orphans is you, and there is no back-up plan. If you are reading this, then you are his plan. If you have never considered foster care, then perhaps today is the day to consider it. And if you have never thought of adoption, then perhaps now is the time. After all, God has adopted each of us.
“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’ For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:15-16).
Remember that earlier statistic? Over 300 million orphans? Well, some studies approximate that there are as many as 2.18 billion Christians in the world. If every Christian took in just one orphan, then there would be no orphans; this article need not be written. But it has to start with one. The one who would pick up the cause of the orphan; to defend the defenseless; to stand up and speak out for the broken and downtrodden, the abused, abandoned, and neglected. Will you be that one? Because there may be one who has been waiting for you a very long time.
Finley is a freelance writer and House Parent at His House Children’s Home. He and his wife currently have 10 kids. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.