I read this post yesterday and it gave me much food for thought.
Obviously Richard and I are pro adoption. If you have ever met my husband face to face, then he has asked you, point blank when you are going to adopt. I often wonder if people understand why he does this. I know why. I know it is because he has experienced first hand the immense blessings that come along with adoption. Not just the blessing of having children, although that is indeed a rich blessing. He has experience God in ways that he could have never imagined. He understands what James 1:27 means to the fullest extent. He wants that for everyone. He has also seen first hand, thanks to his wife, the incredible need for parents for orphans.
The mentioned post hit the nail on the head, at least for us. The question we have asked ourselves over and over again is, “What did God mean when He said to care for the orphan?” I wish I knew. One thing I am sure of is that I don’t think it was His plan that they be in an orphanage, with barely enough food to survive, and only in the best of cases an education. I just don’t believe He meant for us to care for orphans by sending a check for $35 a month to some child in a third world country. Nice, neat, and tidy. No strings attached….I sent my check and did my duty. Should we send checks? Of course. The question we need to ask ourselves is if sending the check is enough.
According t0 Strong’s concordance the word visit means “to inspect, i.e. by implication to select, to go to see, relieve:-look out, visit.
The same word is used only three other times in the New Testament.
Acts 7:23 During Stephen’s preaching just prior to his death, speaking about Moses, said, “When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel.”
Acts 15:14 James speaking after Barnabas and Paul finished speaking says, “Simon has related how God visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for His own name.”
Acts 15:36 “And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord.”
In every one of these passages the word visit implies a very hands on approach. They literally went and saw in all three verses. Moses, Paul, and Barnabas went and visited. God Himself went one step further, and came and “visited” us, not only to see us, to walk among us, but to take for Himself a people for His own name. He didn’t just come to ease our suffering. He didn’t just provide food, shelter, clothing, education, and the like. He chose for Himself a people for His own name.
He adopted us.
I don’t know if adoption is a command. Perhaps some more diligent study of God’s word will reveal that to me. What I do know is that caring for the orphan means so much more than money. Just as our greatest need was not material comforts and provision, theirs is a greater need as well. “God sets the lonely in families.” (Psalm 68.6) The greatest thing God did for me was place me in His family. Adopting me and giving me His name. A name by which every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord. What an inheritance. I get the impression from His word that it was his pleasure to do so, after all, Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross. (Hebrews 12:2) What was His joy? His redeemed people. His joy was fulfilling the will of His Father.
I am so thankful that the Lord did not just see fit to provide for my physical needs, but instead “visited me in my distress.”
and made me His own.
James 1:27 (Young’s Literal Translation)
27religion pure and undefiled with the God and Father is this, to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation — unspotted to keep himself from the world.
James 1:27 (Amplified Bible)
27External [a]religious worship [[b]religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.