Comment Magazine recently gave me the opportunity to write a piece for their series, “Where Does the World Needs Me?” Of course, the answers to that question are as diverse as God’s people. And the many mini-articles written for the magazine reflect this reality with wisdom and creativity. But for my part—authoring the section titled “The World Needs Me…In Justice”—I just couldn’t help but point in the direction of God’s heart for orphans:
The World Needs Me…In Justice
Creation groans, and myriad needs beckon creativity and vigour from compassionate believers. For me, one need invites special attention: orphans in their distress. The sheer weight of the need is itself compelling. More than fifteen million children have lost both parents, most of them living without defense between poverty and predators. It is the young girl, left with no protector or provider, traded into sexual slavery. It is the little boy, crying out in the night with no one to hear.
But even mightier than the raw need is a deeper motivation, one that possesses strength to carry us both into and through a lifetime of service to the orphan. We serve a God who sought us when we were destitute and alone. He adopted us as His children. He invites us to live as His sons and daughters. So we defend the fatherless because He has defended us. We care for the orphan in her destitution because God cared for us in ours.
As we act, our love for orphans effects transformation. It changes orphans who experience care and belonging they’d come to live without. It changes the individual Christian who comes face to face with Jesus in the least of these. It changes the Church, pulling us beyond self-focused religion to a vigorous faith of sacrifice and abandon. It changes the watching world also, as it sees the Gospel story embodied.
These great needs—not just one, but four—intertwine in the plight of the orphan. Their deep need. Ours. That of the Church. And the world’s.