Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. (James 1:27)
I love making lists. They help me achieve things. They bring clarity and purpose. However, I do tend to over-list. Sometimes this is funny, and sometimes it can be frustrating because I can’t possibly get everything done. Other times God uses my lists to bring something to my attention.
I was giving a friend a tour of my new home right after I had just moved in. Showing them into the second bedroom (now also affectionately known as our indoor garage), I heard God speak to me—so clearly I couldn’t have missed it for the world.
“This will be the baby’s room.”
Huh? Thanks God. I mean, I’m all for children, but I didn’t realize it would be so soon.
It turns out this was God giving me a further installment in my journey toward understanding scripture in the book of James. I had come across it about six months before we got married and was fascinated by what it meant for me to live it out. God was only letting me know bit by bit.
At first I wondered who were the orphans and widows are in today’s world. I knew they existed, but they are not very visible in the places I encounter each day. Search scripture, however, and you learn that the orphans and widows are tremendously visible to God.
When God spoke to me in our second bedroom that day, I knew He was quite serious. He wasn’t presenting me with an option, and it also wasn’t up to me to bring it to pass. Honestly, as a newly married couple, we have attempted to walk ourselves down another path many times. But God has continually broken our hearts for the orphans in our midst—the ones we can really touch and impact with His love—the foster children.
I’m glad it’s not up to me. It’s not up to me to choose what and whom God brings across my path. It’s not up to me to make foster care happen for us. God is doing that, and all I need do is trust Him to do it the best way possible. It’s not up to me to choose whom to love. God has already chosen children to entrust to us.
Every night in my state, there are nearly 4,000 children who don’t have a place to stay, primarily because of family breakdown caused by illness, drugs, alcohol and all forms of abuse. These children range in age from babies to 17-year-olds. We don’t know who is going to occupy our second bedroom yet, but we are praying that God shows His mercy, His love and His grace to every child who walks through our front door.
I used to get overwhelmed by the needs of other people. God has taught me that He is in control. He’s the ultimate list-maker; He has a plan and purpose for every person, and it’s all included in His perfect list. It is He who sets the solitary in families. It’s not up to me to get all the boxes checked.
Father, I pray for the orphans in the world. Open up my heart and eyes to see how I can care for Your children.