Defend the Fatherless

Psalm 82:3-4 “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Many questions have come to us lately, the most common one being “Why did you decide to adopt?” The best answer I can come up with is “Why NOT?”
As believers we are asked to care for orphans and widows, to defend the weak and the fatherless, uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed. We are implored to rescue the weak and the needy, providing what deliverance we can in a physical sense as we are able. We are asked above all to love and to proclaim the name of Jesus and to teach others the hope and redemption and salvation that He alone offers.
In reference to the caring for widows and orphans, the sick, the weak and the needy in our world – sometimes this call is overwhelming. You can look at people who are serving in poverty stricken areas and those teams that provide medical assistance, or individuals who have felt called to go to places of natural disaster and help with relief, or look at the intense need in third world countries like Haiti, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, etc. or simply the needs in your very own hometown, your friends, neighbors and strangers on the corner and you could think, “If I was to do something, it wouldn’t even make a dent in the hunger, in the desolation, it would barely even make a difference.”
I think at times we can become so completely deaf to the cries of the people in need around us because of the overpowering volume – we have a tendency to shut out the noise, and live inside our own bubble of a world because we have enough of our own needs, families, and work lives to balance without having to care for someone else’s.
Psalm 82:3-4 “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Notice this verse isn’t prefaced by “When your life settles down…” or “After you are done rearing your own children…” or “When your bills are all paid…” or “When you feel like you are emotionally ‘full’ and have something to give…”
It simply begins with a list of verbs: “Defend. Uphold. Rescue. Deliver.” NOW. Those are fighting words, people – a call to arms. Those are very uncomfortable requests for many of us. Our God is a God of action, and He expects His people to follow suit. We cannot just sit by and let other people who we deem as having “more faith” or “more patience” or “more compassion” or “more courageous” do the work that God has entrusted ALL OF US to do.
It isn’t our job to decide whether or not our actions will make a difference. It is our job simply to follow the direction laid out in front of us. You never know how much of a change or how much of a difference your one step of faith will make.
I was reading the introduction to a new book (which I can’t recommend yet because I got stuck at the intro and haven’t read the rest of the book yet! So I’m afraid to name it just in case it’s sketchy!) and had been floating through verses in the Bible just prior on caring for orphans and widows, defending the fatherless, etc. I was stuck on the concept of “how does my one decision make much of a difference in this world?” and “does it really even matter – is it all really worth it?” and after a few minutes in, I came across this story: (the author is unknown to me, otherwise I would give credit where it’s due!)
“A young girl was walking along a beach. To her amazement, she came upon thousands of starfish. Washed ashore by a storm, they were dying in the hot sun. The girl began to toss starfish back into the sea, one by one. After a while, a man approached her. “Little girl,” he asked, “why are you doing this? There are thousands of starfish on the beach. You cannot possibly hope to make a difference!” The girl was discouraged, and dropped the starfish in her hand. But a moment later, she bent down, picked up the starfish again, and tossed it as far as she could into the sea. She turned back to the man. Smiling brightly, she said, “I made a difference to that one!” Inspired, he joined her. A crowd had gathered, and soon others joined in. Before long, there were hundreds of people tossing starfish back into the sea and calling out, “I made a difference to that one!” After a while, their calls subsided. The girl looked up. to her amazement, she saw no starfish on the beach. Each one had been tossed back into the sea.”
I know that our decision to adopt will not change or alter the course of the world as a whole – but it will change and alter the course of the world of a little orphaned Haitian boy. It will make a difference to one. It will make a difference to THAT one.
I don’t know where your heart is – but know this – If you make a difference to ONE – you make a difference. Period. It matters, because they matter. If you care for someone, it makes a difference. Whether that is providing a forever home to an orphaned child, or simply providing a meal to someone in need.
There are children both domestically (in the U.S.), and around the globe that desperately need a family to belong to. They wake up every morning wondering if this will be the day that they get a mommy or a daddy. Each meal they eat, they wonder if this will be their last one in the orphanage. There are unborn children who will come into this world welcomed by no one – a mother who cannot care for them, a father who doesn’t even understand what that term means other than a dna sample. There are older children, school age children, who have never been scooped up when they scrape their knees, who have never seen a textbook or had any sort of formal education. They need families who are ready to step up and defend, uphold, rescue and deliver.  They need forever families who will love and belong to them unconditionally.
There are also men and women both domestically and worldwide who need mentors. They need learned, experienced people to invest in them and teach them a trade, or teach them how to care for children that they desperately want to keep. There are families that want to stay together but need the tools to do so. They need people to come alongside them – to defend, uphold, rescue and deliver.
It’s hard at times to love, it’s hard at times to care. It’s hard at times to set my own life aside in order to put someone else first. Unfortunately, I can be a very selfish person.
However, we can’t just sit there waiting for someone else to go. We cannot assume that caring for others is only for those who are gifted with compassion or for those who have extra time or extra money. If we are breathing, we are qualified. If our hearts are beating, we have been called. To what extent and the details beyond are between us and the Lord!
Defend. Uphold. Rescue. Deliver. Because it makes a difference to THAT ONE. 

One thought on “Defend the Fatherless

  1. Brent says:

    I’ve been reading “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. Your family epitomizes his teaching – very inspirational for Joanne and I!

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