by Johnny Carr
Imagine children lined up shoulder to shoulder all the way around the earth’s equator. Now consider that all of the orphaned kids in the world would not fit in that line. There are too many of them. According to UNICEF, 153 million kids worldwide have lost one or both parents due to all causes. That’s twice the total number of children in the U.S.
You may think I am here to tell you that American Christians need to step up and adopt all of these orphaned children. I am not. I believe adoption is a great and a necessary ministry; in fact, I have three adopted kids of my own. However, not all of these 153 million kids can— or need to—be adopted. But they do need our help. And we must give that help, because orphaned and vulnerable children have no other hope or future. More importantly, by obeying God to care for the fatherless, we have the opportunity to experience Him in ways we never imagined.
I invite you to join me on a journey as we get to the heart of what God desires for every one of the 153 million orphaned and vulnerable children around the world. It’s not just a statistic. We are talking about real children—children whom God our Father loves and longs to rescue. Deuteronomy 10:18 tells us, “[God] ensures that orphans and widows receive justice” (NLT), and Psalm 68:5 tells us He is “a father of the fatherless.” Yes, God fights for orphans and loves them as their Father, but His Word also exhorts us to “defend the cause of orphans” (Isa. 1:17 NLT).
Christians are clearly called to care for orphans, a group so close to the heart of Jesus. In reality, most of the 153 million orphaned and vulnerable children in the world do not need to be adopted, and not everyone needs to become an adoptive parent. However, there are other very important ways to help beyond adoption. Indeed, caring for orphaned and vulnerable children requires us to care about related issues from child trafficking and HIV/AIDS to racism and poverty.
No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.