A Time for Men
It sometimes seems Christian men are ten steps behind the women in responding to God’s call to care for orphans, whether via adoption, foster care or global orphan care. There’d be a lot to say about reasons why. But whatever the cause, one thing is clear: men need to know that when we talk about reflecting God’s heart for the orphan, masculinity is every bit as needed as maternal love.
Yes, to meet an orphan’s needs does call for much nurture and caregiving. (I might add that any loving father should join and relish these involvements, too.) But there’s another side to the call as well, a fiercer side.
The word translated “care for” or “visit” in James 1:27 is a much more potent term than we often imagine. It carries a hint of the same thought as in our colloquial saying “show up”—as in, “…then, the Marines showed up.” In Luke 1:68 the term is set in the context of God’s mighty rescue His people: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people” (KJV). We get a taste of this same call to masculine action in Isaiah’s mandate: “Defend the cause of the fatherless” (1:17).
Ultimately, the wellspring of all our actions on behalf of orphans is God’s action on our behalf: His role as the rescuing and defending Father, His fierce pursuit and rescue of us.
This kind of active, pursuing, sacrificial, even aggressive “visiting” of orphans is a call to every man who claims the name of Christ.
The truth is, the fatherless child often faces the world without provider or protector; she lives on a precipice between poverty and predators. Men are needed. Real men. As protectors and providers. As adoptive fathers and mentors. As defenders and champions. The role demands struggle; we must grapple in prayer, in sacrifice, in wresting a young life from those that would use and abuse it. This can be a bloody road, sometimes literally. And it calls out for men to stand alongside their wives, sisters and daughters to truly “defend the cause of the fatherless.”
There is reason for hope. Men are waking. A small, hand-written note was left for me at Summit VI, unsigned. It read simply, “I know of quite a few women in my hometown who would love to and have a desire to adopt or open their home for fostering children. Sadly, none of their husbands are open to this in any way. I’ve wondered, ‘Where are the men with a heart for the fatherless—a heart like my heavenly father.’ This is my first time at the Summit and I am blown away by the number of men here!! And I am very encouraged. Just wanted to pass that on.”