Friday, October 08, 2010

How Could a Loving God Allow 150 Million Orphans?

There are nearly 150 MILLION lost children in our world.

For perspective imagine a sports stadium full of orphans. Now realize if you were to add up EVERY person who will attend EVERY MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA and NASCAR event this year it would still be less than 150 million.

The orphaned child faces untenable circumstances. Many will not live to see their 18th birthday. Millions will face AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. Thousands upon thousands will be prostituted as children. The displaced and orphaned child will often be conscripted into militias or armies as child soldiers. Scores will take their own lives in despair. Many will be homeless and be murdered on the street. Sadly, the outcomes of foster children in the United States are comparable to the third world orphan.

This question is inevitable; how could a loving God allow this to happen? This is a question I have wrestled with and that at points has shaken my faith. The sights, sounds, and smells of the orphanage haunt your memories. You reach a point when you want to shake your fist in God’s face and scream ‘what is wrong with you?’

The despotic leader of the Soviet Union, Josef Stalin once said ‘to kill one man is a tragedy. To kill a million is a statistic.’ The orphan’s predicament is often abstract in the church. It is a problem that is out there but not right here. We hear 150 million and it is just a statistic.

These kids are real, though! When they fall down there is nobody to console them. When they are lonely there is nobody to hold them. When they are hungry there is nobody to feed them. When they are vulnerable there is nobody to protect them. David Platt, author of the bestselling book Radical wrote:

Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.

Every single one of those 150 million children has a name. The cry of orphan’s heart is real! It will pierce you to your core if you let it.

We read in James 1:27 that caring for the orphans and widows is ‘pure religion.’ We now think caring for the orphans is a backpack in a bin once a year and ‘just 90 cents a day!’ We feel good because ‘we sacrifice a little of Christmas for the orphans’ when we send a shoebox filled with dollar store presents. We have become a people consumed by materialism. We care more about a Lexus than Alexis who is going to be damned to a life of almost certain death and destruction!

The purpose of our universe in the reconciliation of God to man by redemption through adoption in Jesus Christ. There are nearly two billion people who claim to be followers of the adopted son of Joseph, Jesus. Two billion people who as Romans 8 tells us are joint heirs with the Messiah through adoption!

Through the collective inaction of the church millions of children have died and more live in a hopeless despair. What if we simply embraced the central theme of our faith? If just 12.5% of people who call themselves Christians were moved to give the orphan a family the problem would be solved. Should we still want to challenge God for doing nothing? Let us ask that question while standing in front of a mirror or better yet while looking into the eyes of a waiting child.


Christie M said...

Thank you Steve.

Diane said...

I am new to your blog. I am so glad I found you. I had messaged you a bit ago on FB wondering if your family had adopted from EE. I love your post. It is exactly where my husband and I find ourselves today. We are in the process of fighting to bring home a 5 y/o daughter with Ds from Russia who is living on borrowed time thats running out quickly. When we first shared our news of adoption we were stunned by the response we recieved from almost everyone. When we turned to our church, we were SHUNNED and told by the pastor,"care and adoption of the orphan is NOT a call of Christ but a personal passion "so this church will not be a part of it. I did see that same pastor last evening at a Watoto Children's choir performance and greeted him and told him I was glad to see him there. Maybe looking into the faces of those beautiful Ugandan children as they tell their stories of victory through Christ after being orphaned by HIV/AIDS is an answer to my prayers. Everything does change when it goes from "them" to looking into the face of "him" or "her". You can join our journey at

Ithappenstobehaiti said...

Your article is well written. Perhaps there are more than 12.5 percent of Christians willing to do something but the political red tape has prevented many families from adopting. Many of the orphans are not adoptable for various reasons, countries that are closed etc. It seems that the most a country adopts out a year is it due to lack of interest or complications within the government? It is such a complicated issue and I don't disagree with anything you said!

Pam DeFrees said...

A friend of mine, Cindie Wolff, who adopted a girl from Ukraine, gave me your blog address. I met her adopted daughter on a mission trip and re-met her for a few summers before she was adopted, which is how Cindie and I met. Now, my husband and I are adopting and Cindie has been giving me wonderful encouragement and has shared some blogs with me. This is one of them. I am drinking in what you have written and just wanted to thank you for writing it all. I know God will continue to use these words to minister to others.
Our web page is
Our school's blog (the mission trip blogs) is

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