God’s Heart for Orphans and the Special Call on the Church to Care for Them
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God believes in family. He sent Jesus into this world as a baby and therefore totally reliant on his earthly mother and father and He invites us to be a part of his eternal family, writes Dr Robert Glover, founder and executive director of Care for Children. 

1 June is the Global Day of Parents, and while awareness days are observed in different ways (and many of us are ready for one of the biggest observations in history this week), for me this is an important time to remember the call God has given us all to look after children.

Many child psychoanalysts believe that mental health and behavioural problems can be attributed to early childhood experience. Developmental psychologist John Bowlby’s pioneering theory of attachment suggests that children come into the world biologically pre-programmed to form attachments with others because this will help them to survive. His findings suggested that where there is maternal deprivation children often developed mental and physical disabilities, and sometimes even die.

What Bowlby didn’t explain is how children are pre-programmed. However, we know from Psalm 139 that God knitted us together in our mother’s womb; He fearfully and wonderfully made us. The family roles in a child’s development are God-ordained; it is His purpose for children to be dependant and reliant on parents in order to survive and thrive into adulthood.

God is passionate about orphans, and God is very clear about our responsibility as Christians to the orphan. Children, the smallest, weakest and most vulnerable, will pay the greatest price for family disruption. Although we might miss their hardship, God does not. God created the family to care for children, and He expects His people the church to defend them in their distress. The eight million children living in some form of institutional care around the world have been impacted by rejection and without a voice, they have no one to speak up for them.

When my family and I moved to China, Care for Children wasn’t placing children into Christian families – in China that is quite hard to have any control over – but I was being obedient to God’s call over my life which was to put children into families, and establish what God intended for each child. I was just doing my part to build His Kingdom.

Jackie Pullinger once said to me, “If you meet the need of the poor, the influential will become jealous and want to know why.” I remember a short trip I took up to the northern region of Baotou in Mongolia. I had been working in China a number of years by this point and built some strong relationships with the Chinese government. Mr Li, a senior government official, knew I was a Christian and had assured me that there were no Christians in the region we were travelling to and that everyone was Muslim, Buddhist or Confucian. My response was that it didn’t matter, we were still putting the children in families, because that’s where they need to be.

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(c) The Christian Today, used with permission.

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