“Religion that God our Father considers pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27 NIVBefore I went on the World Race, I didn’t know quite what to make of this verse. I thought it sounded really good, but I didn’t even know of any distressed orphans. How then, could I look after any? I’ve had to accept the fact that even though orphans may not be running through the streets of Californian suburbia, that doesn’t mean I have no obligation to help them.
Unfortunately, the AIDS crisis is giving the world plenty of opportunities to show love to orphans. I just read a report by Tom Davis (who I met during world race training in Mexico) who is there now in Swaziland (which I visited last November) with his organization Children’s HopeChest. In his blog, he writes:
It’s just heart-breaking to see the numbers of widows trying to care for 8, 10, or 15 orphans in a tiny little hut with no support and no food of their own. Starting tomorrow we are beginning a carepoint from scratch. We'll start feeding the orphans in the community under a tent (the one I preached in from a video blog a few days ago), with a cast iron pot. We’re excited to get some of our programs underway in such a desperate place. We found 95 orphans living alone who hadn't eaten anything in 3 weeks.Wow… here’s a guy who is really living out the scripture. He has chosen to do what it takes to look after orphans and widows in their distress. I can’t read his words without wishing I was back there, alongside, providing food for the hungry and hugs for the forgotten.
I deeply appreciate everything God has given me, but I HATE the fact that my comfortable life soothes me to forget the great need that exists most places in the world, rendering me useless. It’s not that I don’t want to… it’s just that without constant reminders my outrage somehow slips away. I don’t want to live like that, full of my good intentions.
I invite you to join me, to challenge me, and to hold me accountable. If we have to do some research to find a good organization to support, let’s do it. If we have to get a little ‘uncomfortable’, and step outside our borders to show love to the lonely, let’s do it.
Whatever it takes.
These pictures are of me & a couple of buddies at a carepoint in Bulembu, Swaziland (Nov 2006). I don't know their stories, only their impact on my heart.