Orphan care is spiritual warfare.

It is a battle between good and evil, light and dark, right and wrong. By nature it is reactionary - a response to what is broken motivated by the desire to see renewal, redemption and restoration prevail. It is an effort to see the heart of God demonstrated for the hopeless and justice triumph over what is severely and tragically flawed. 

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It was never God's intent for families to be broken and children to be left without one. Among the unending evidences of a fatally sin-scarred world, this particular consequence particularly pains the heart of the Father. That is why He assumes the role of "helper of the fatherless" (Psalm 10:14) and we are told that of all the measures by which our faith can be demonstrated before Him, caring for orphans in their distress ranks among the highest and purest (James 1:27). 

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For the cause of the orphan we fight a very real battle against a very real Enemy - an adversary who is unequivocally committed to "steal, kill and destroy" that which God created to be good (John 10:10), including families. We stand for what God stands for, the hopeless and helpless, and stand against what He opposes, the Enemy establishing a destructive foothold in the lives of families and children. It is a spiritual battle at its core.

TRIAL DAY

It was trial day for the baby girl we had been fostering for nearly a year up to that point. This was the day the judge would rule on whether or not the biological mother and father would retain their rights over her, or lose them forever. As the room seemingly fell silent, I was called to testify before the judge. After a series of questions he asked his final and most significant one: Do you believe it is in the best interest of this child for parental rights to be terminated and for you to permanently adopt her?  Without hesitation and with full confidence, I had to say: Yes, sir. I do.

In that moment I felt with vivid clarity what it meant for Jesus to stand before God the Judge in my place - to testify on my behalf for the rights of the Enemy to be terminated in my life. The battle had been fought for me. The Enemy no longer retained any of His manipulative, deceiving and destructive rights over me. I was forever adopted into the family of God because of the work of Jesus on my behalf. Jesus had won. With vivid clarity I felt that, even saw it, as we stood to demonstrate in the life of this baby girl very much what Jesus had accomplished for us. She was oblivious to the heinously broken and abusive circumstances into which she was born and wholly unaware of all the proceedings taking place that would ultimately determine her fate - which all the moreso demanded that someone would stand on her behalf and speak for her where she had no voice.

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THE REAL ENEMY

I knew in that moment we were participating in something much larger than what may have been seen in that courtroom. This was more unseen than the external vices of a mother and father putting them in a position of losing parental rights over their child. This was an attempt of the Enemy to steal and kill and destroy this innocent baby girl's life, and to perpetuate the systemic brokenness of past generations into her own. Although certainly not innocent bystanders in all of this, the real enemy here was not the biological parents, it was Satan. While her situation demanded an extreme and just intervention, they were not the villains from whom she needed rescuing, but in the grand unseen spiritual world of things, he was. This is the essence of what Paul means when he says, "...we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)

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It should be said that not all children who need families are victims of abuse or neglect. Some are the fruit of very noble and brave decisions on the part of a woman to give birth to life rather than abort to death. This should be celebrated as such. However, in those horrific scenarios where a child is victimized in any way and is in need of rescuing, our fight for them is not necessarily a fight against delinquent parents. While they may not be innocent bystanders, they still are not the ultimate enemy - Satan is. He kills and destroys lives - theirs not withstanding. 

THE TRUE HERO

This is the essence of the battle we engage in and the platform upon which Jesus is presented as the true Hero. If the real enemy in the care of orphans is not the biological parents but Satan who kills and destroys lives and families, then the true hero is not those who foster or adopt or care for orphans in some other capacity - it is Jesus Himself. The heroic efforts of so many who fight for justice for the marginalized and even adopt children into new forever families only points to the work of the true Hero who redeems and heals and restores and transforms grievous wrongs into glorious rights. Any sense of a personal "hero complex" must be crucified on the altar of pointing to Jesus as the real Hero.

In the war that is waged over the lives of the oppressed and orphaned, Satan is the true enemy and Jesus is the glorious Hero. Spiritual warfare defined.

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This is the battle of orphan care, fought today with the guarantee that one day the cause itself will be exhausted, the word orphan will be obsolete and all that has been fatally flawed and marred in this world by sin and brokenness will be made right by the full and final coming of Jesus. We diligently fight the battle of orphan care as those who have been eternally fought for by Jesus. He is the Hero, and we now have the privilege of participating in the victory that He has already secured and standing for those in the battle who cannot stand for themselves.    

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