I recently heard a very moving story from a young lady who lost her father in a traffic accident when she was a young child and was also neglected by her mom. At four years of age she was placed in foster care. She described her feelings of insecurity and the resulting negative behavior that stemmed from a desire to be loved. She was eventually adopted by a family that gave her the love she so desperately longed for and needed. Now this young lady has a ministry that seeks to help orphans who have been placed in foster care.
I heard another story about a couple’s call and journey to become foster parents. The couple was on the verge of becoming empty nesters and had a lot of reasons why becoming foster parents did not make sense. Yet God kept calling them and reminding them that His grace is sufficient. The day after the couple completed the required paperwork to become foster parents, they were asked to take two little girls. Did I mention that this the lady was still recovering for injuries sustained from falling off a horse?
In spite of all the obstacles, this couple took the two little girls into their home. Suddenly this couple’s world was turned upside down. Changing diapers, providing constant care, making their home safe for children, and having toys all over the house was just the tip of the iceberg. In addition, the little girls lagged behind developmentally, and yet the foster parents persevered in their efforts to provide care and love. One night one of the little girls looked at the foster Dad and said, “I love you.” Both parents wept and were reassured in their step of faith to become foster parents. To make a long story short this family loves these little girls and God’s grace has been sufficient.
As I listened to these stories I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ words to His disciples the night before He was crucified. He said, “I will not leave you as orphans” (John 14:18). He promised the Holy Spirit would come to them and reside in them after He was gone. Jesus knew they needed what all spiritual orphans need, the love and nurturing of our Heavenly Father. Those who believe in Jesus have received the Holy Spirit and have been adopted into the family of God. We can call Him, “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15).
I am amazed at how often believers, myself included, who have become children of God, and joint heirs with Christ, continue living like spiritual orphans. We must look to God like those children described above. We make messes and leave our “toys” everywhere. We look for love and fulfillment wherever we can. How often do we reach for the things of the world instead of the love of our heavenly Father?