Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Plight of the Orphan

Guest Blogger:  Mason Beebe, age 16 yrs.

What is our ultimate goal as Christians? What is the most important piece of our faith? In His word, God asks us to do so much it is overwhelming. And it is so easy to get caught up in whether we are or aren’t doing these things. But I think the biggest and most important part of our faith is our relationship with our Holy Father. This relationship is what will drive us to do the things that God calls us to do. If we truly have a relationship with God, our service to Him will be out of love for Him, rather than doing just so we can get to heaven.

     About a month ago I left to spend three weeks in an orphanage in Bolgatanga. We live in Accra which is in the very southern part of Ghana, and Bolgatanga is in the very northern part of Ghana. Basically the entire country of Ghana was between where I was in Bolga, and where my family was in Accra. It was so hard to be away from my family. My brothers have become my best friends, and not having them around was depressing to me. It was in the midst of this hardship that I found my true need for God.

     Even though my soul was in turmoil, I was able to minister to the kids in this orphanage in tremendous ways. Even though most of the time the children drove me crazy I was able to love them in a way they do not often experience. Living under the same roof as these fatherless children gave me a whole new perspective into their lives.

     At this home there are two small boys maybe 3 or 4 years old named Bright and Marvin. When we first arrived in Bolga these two boys cried about everything. It seemed they had learned that no one wanted to listen to them cry, so they could cry to get what they wanted. And the older kids catered to them when they threw a fit. This got under my skin, and I began being rather harsh with Bright when he would start crying. One day when he was crying about something silly, I bent down to reprimand him. As soon as my face was on his level I almost couldn’t speak because I realized that he looked very much like my little brother Godwin.

    Realizing this gave me a whole new perspective. I would not treat Bright that way if he was a part of my family. And this is when my role in that home really hit me. These kids have no one to stand up for them. They have no mother or father to defend them from mistreatment. This is the plight of the orphan. Not simply that they have no one to tuck them in at night, but they have no one to raise them in the ways of God, no one who will help them in times of trouble, and no one to encourage them when they are hurting in their soul. It was hard enough for me being away from my family for three weeks. I can’t imagine being without a family for a lifetime.

     It was amazing to see how much just my being there impacted the kids. There were a couple times when I left the house for a little bit. When I returned one of the kids would see me and run out to greet me, followed by the rest of the mob. It reminded me of the times when my Dad would get home from work and I would run out of the house to give him a hug. I did not feel like it at all, but I am probably the closest thing to a Dad these kids have ever known.

    I know you are probably just waiting for me to bust out the story about something amazing that happened while I was there. Well, honestly I don’t have any incredible stories. My ministry was loving on the kids in simple ways and the biggest one was just by being there in the first place. Leading devotions, playing soccer, walking to church, taking them to the hospital, telling them goodnight, and going on walk to name just a few of the ways in which I was able to minister.

     So how does the first paragraph of this blog post fit in with everything else? As I said earlier being in Bolgatanga was extremely hard. I was able to truly feel my need and dependence on God. My relationship with God is what got me through that trip. There were many times when I was ready to pack up and go back to Accra. But God gave me the strength to get through the trip, and he gave me love to satisfy my needs, and then even more to share with those children. It was hard, but Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for me. I was making a small sacrifice for Him.

     Please don’t think I am trying to hold myself up as an example of how every Christian should live. I am messed up. I struggle with sin. It doesn’t always feel like God is with me. I am not special. I hope you read this post and are challenged to dive into God’s Spirit and be engulfed with a love for Him. Because that is where any form of missions needs to start. If we aren’t doing it because we love God and we want to glorify his name, we are doing it in sin.

     There are 153 million children in this world who have no earthly father. They have no earthly being to love them, care for them, defend them, or raise them up. But our God is so good. He has not claimed the rich and powerful, but he has claimed these children as His own. He has said that He will love them, care for them, defend them, and raise them up. Isn’t that amazing? Just thinking about that puts a smile on my face. This world is not without hope. And God offers us a chance to play a part in redeeming this world. Don’t you want to be a part of that? Is that not the most amazing and fulfilling duty we could ever be asked to do?

     I don’t want to see the church rise up and love orphans if they do not truly love God in their hearts. For that is at the very center of what we believe. There is a passage in Matthew that talks about the day of judgment and how there were people that did works in the name of God, but that was not enough. God wants us to love Him, so that when the road gets rough, we don’t give up and quit, but so that we draw from His strength and love to keep pressing forward.

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
    maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Psalm 82:3-4

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