Many children today are in constant danger due to neglect, warfare, disease and starvation. So many have little regard for the most vulnerable among us. But there is hope for the future in the sure promises of God.
Davion Henry, dressed up in a very nice suit, stood up during a church service. He took his place at the podium and made a shocking request. Davion said: "Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I'll take anyone." He was begging someone to adopt him.
Davion was given up as a baby and spent a lifetime in foster care. At the age of 15, he found out that his real mother had died in prison. Now an orphan, he is seeking for a family of his own, even to the point of humbling himself and asking people in his congregation to consider adopting him ("Old or Young, Dad or Mom, Black, White, Purple. I'll Take Anyone," Daily Mail, Oct. 16, 2013).
This was a heartbreaking story for me to read, because I can so relate to Davion in such a personal way. I felt his pain. I spent my childhood and much of my teenage years in foster care.
From the time I was 4 until the age of 14, I was moved from foster home to foster home. Thankfully I was with my twin brother during those traumatic years. Jim and I were placed in a total of eight foster homes and two children's homes over a 10-year period. Just when I felt comfortable enough to begin to call the new foster parents Mom and Dad, it was time to be moved again.
I could always remember the night before I was to leave one foster home for another, stressing and wondering who would be our next parents. How would they treat us? What school would I go to next? Sadly, as statistics will show, I am not alone in enduring a tragic childhood.
There are more than 150 million orphans worldwide! That is staggering and sobering. More than 150 million orphans like Davion, who desire to have parents of their own. Why so many orphans? There are a lot of reasons—war, parents who cannot or will not take care of their children, or famine, and diseases such as HIV/AIDS. According to UN agencies, there may be more than 40 million orphans from AIDS alone.
According to 2013 figures, there are 400,000 children in the foster care system in just the United States. It takes nearly $20 billion per year to take care of these children. And these numbers are on the increase, as more and more children enter the foster care system.
Will God do something about this problem and others that children now face?
A dangerous world and divine perspective
In thinking about the plight of children in today's world, we must not forget the many unborn babies who are killed every year through abortion. There are approximately 1.2 million abortions in America each year. Did you know that nearly 89 percent of all abortions take place by the 12th week of pregnancy? The United States has the highest abortion rate (19.4 per 1,000) of any Western industrialized nation. Estimates are that there have been more than 55 million abortions in the country since 1973.
Furthermore, every year 15 million children die of hunger worldwide. Each year approximately 10 million children die from such causes as birth defects, malnutrition, accidents, disease, SIDS, cancer, starvation, homicide and war. This doesn't even cover the children who grew up with neglectful or abusive parents. More than 28 million Americans are children of alcoholics, and nearly 11 million are under the age of 18.
When you read these statistics, you may wonder, "Where is God?" How could He allow the suffering of so many children? The fact of the matter is that the majority of people do not want God in their lives. Yet they think He should police everyone else's lives and blame Him, as uncaring, for all the suffering. God does care, but there is an overall plan He is working out. We must remember the following key principles.
1. God has given mankind free will to make his own choices. It was mankind that chose to make a ruling allowing the abortion of babies. Mankind has decided to go to war because of greed and hatred. It's mankind that decided to follow its own path instead of submitting to God's loving and knowing will. Again, people for the most part do not want God in their lives. As a loving parent, He says, "Okay, make choices and see if they work for you."
2. God has allowed Satan to influence mankind and exercise control over the world. Satan is the one to blame. The apostle Paul referred to him in Ephesians:2:2 as "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience." The devil does not have ultimate power, but God is allowing him a short amount of time as the behind-the-scenes ruler of this world. But God will intervene in our lives if we call on Him, and if we truly acknowledge His existence and genuinely seek Him in an obedient attitude.
3. God sees the bigger picture. He is working with all of us in many different ways, and sometimes this comes through suffering. God also wants people to see that their lives won't work without faith in Him and obedience to His law of love. That is why bad things happen to apparently good people and children. God's plan is far greater than what happens to us temporarily. God sees the bigger picture beyond this age and all the world's suffering. Unlike the governments of this world, He will bring ultimate solutions. (For more on this important topic, request and read our free Bible study aid Why Does God Allow Suffering? )
Despite all the doom and gloom, there is real hope for the future. I found that hope myself. When I felt that gaping hole in my heart of wanting and needing a father, God came in and filled it. David wrote in Psalm:68:5, "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling."
I understand why bad things have happened to me, because the ultimate cause is Satan's evil influence (Ephesians:2:2; 2 Corinthians:4:4). I can relate to someone like Davion, who has suffered so much pain and loss. I know what the solution is because I have been there and know the process. I know what God the Father has done for me. I know He is the Healer of the brokenhearted, especially the broken, wounded children. I know that God is the Father to the fatherless because I have seen His amazing love in my life.
Many people go out to help and become advocates for others because they understand the pain. They know the healing process and that through suffering those who are afflicted come out even stronger than before going in. They make great advocates because they have been there. That is part of why we suffer—so we can understand and help others.
God's great care for children
Jesus Christ is our greatest Advocate. He went through enormous suffering for us so He could be our Advocate with the Father. He endured unimaginable emotional and physical pain and is able to understand our pain and plead our case before God the Father when Satan is accusing us.
The apostle John wrote: "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him" (John:3:16-17, New Living Translation). That's a pretty awesome Father who would allow His only begotten Son to die for all of us so that we could also become part of His family.
God cares greatly for all children. Matthew wrote, "He called a little child and had him stand among them." Jesus was making a point: "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew:18:3-6).
Jesus continued, "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew:18:10). Wow! What a message sent on behalf of the children. Children are not cut off from God but instead have every opportunity to seek Him and go His way.
God does care! If you are like Davion, with a void in your heart, seek the true God. You are never too young to seek Him. I became so aware of God and my great need for Him even at the young age of 9. Ask Him to come into your life and be your Father, for He is the Father to the fatherless and cares very deeply for you. He is the Healer of all wounded children and will heal every one them in due time according to His step-by-step plan for humankind. He is the one who will make everything right!
Pray, then, for the better world to come wherein Satan, the ultimate cause of all of mankind's heartaches, will be banished (Revelation:20:1-3), and an awesome Father will rule over the earth through His Son Jesus Christ. Then God our Father will take over and be a real Father to us all. He is the one who will make it right! Pray for Christ's soon return for our children's sake!