The imagery of adoption is used throughout Scripture to paint a vivid picture of the Gospel - God’s rescuing and redeeming love for us in Jesus. The list could be much longer, but here's 3 ways our care of orphans vividly demonstrates God's care for us in Jesus:

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1. Orphan care demands we interject ourselves into broken stories just as Jesus interjected Himself into ours.

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This is Christmas, right? Our celebration of God seeing the plight of humanity and responding by sending the greatest gift of love this world has ever known - Jesus. He took the form of a servant and entered into our broken story in order to rescue and redeem us from it.

Jesus pulled us out of a broken story by first humbly and willingly being pulled into it. He joyfully accepted any and all implications that would come down on Him for our sake. In a similar way, as we engage in the care of the marginalized, abused, neglected and orphaned in this world we must be willing to love them as Jesus has loved us by engaging them where they are and embracing the brokenness of where they come from. Just as God responded to our plight before Him so we are compelled to respond to theirs, offering them the greatest gift of love they will ever know - Jesus.

Orphan care is just as much about pulling a child out of a broken story as it is about you pulled into one. You will love more passionately, hurt more deeply, grieve more bitterly and celebrate more joyously throughout the process of caring for vulnerable children than you ever thought imaginable. This is the hard reality of where orphan care begins, where it takes you, what it requires of you and how it will break you. We must be willing to walk down this path, for their sake. As we do, our embracing of their brokenness paints a vivid picture of how Jesus embraced ours.

2. Orphan care demands that we stand for justice in a deeply spiritual battle just as Jesus stood for us.

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 The Bible describes Jesus as our “mediator” and “advocate”, the One who testified before God on our behalf. He stood in the gap for us, destroying the rights of the Enemy over our lives and assuming those rights upon Himself. He took full ownership of us by counting the cost of His own life so that freedom could be brought about in ours.

In a similar way, our call is to fight for justice on behalf of the marginalized, oppressed and orphaned – to stand for them, advocate for them and assume responsibility for them. The Gospel expects, albeit demands that we be willing to stand where Jesus has stood for us, seeking justice in the midst of their brokenness.

However, in our fight for justice, we must be clear to as who the true Enemy is that we fight against...

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The Bible says we do not wrestle against any one person or group of people in our fight for good over evil, but against spiritual powers and authorities of darkness that are often more subtly unseen. In the end, the battle we engage in for the care of orphans is against a spiritual Enemy who wants to steal, kill and destroy the lives of families and children.

In our standing for a child, we do not stand against their biological families, no matter the abuse, neglect or oppression they may be guilty of committing (especially in foster care situations). As heinous as it may be at times and as natural as our tendencies will be towards anger and bitterness against them, as we stand for these kids we do not stand against their parents, per say, but against the Enemy who celebrates their devastation and works towards their destruction.

The real enemy in orphan care is not a biological mom or dad, but Satan who seeks to steal, kill and destroy families. It follows then that with Satan as the real enemy, only Jesus could  triumph victoriously as the true Hero. We must stand where He would stand on behalf of what He would stand for, not so we are seen as heroic but so He is seen as the ultimate Hero in the battle for what is good and right and just. This is nothing less than what He has done for us.

3. Orphan care is the call to lay down our lives for others just as Jesus laid down His life for us.

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The Gospel is the story of a “great exchange” – God’s righteousness for our unrighteousness, His holiness for our sin, the fullness of His glory for the emptiness of our vanity. Jesus laid down the infinite value of His own life so that we might know the immeasurable worth of being fully loved by Him. 

In a similar way, our call to care for the marginalized and orphaned is ultimately the call to accept the costs we may incur as worth it for the gain a child may receive through our love for them. Our family for their identity; our comfort for their acceptance; our money for their security; our home for their belonging; our hearts for their love. When it gets hard, and it undoubtedly will, and when we begin to question whether or not the cost is worth it, and we most certainly will, being reminded of the Gospel and the lengths Jesus went to call us His own is the only thing that will carry and sustain us through. His life for our sake; our lives for their sake. The great exchange of orphan care.

Orphan care will at times stretch the limits of who we are and what we are capable of. It will take us places emotionally, spiritually and even physically we never imagined. It will cost us, but in the end the value of the life of a child always exceeds the value of anything we may have to lose in order to love that child. Jesus joyfully laid Himself down so that He may raise us up with Him. What an honor to do the same in the life of a child. 

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