That is the number of parentless or vulnerable children in the world. In "adoption" minded circles, such as the ones in which my family has become involved, somehow that manages to be an easy figure to throw around. We know about it--we care--we even wear the t-shirt. But what on earth is to be done about it?
We won’t really understand the reality of what it means to be fatherless, or vulnerable, until we see it. Not on a blog. Not on Google Images. Not on the Discovery Channel. We understand when God takes us, and makes apparent to us the “Actual,” as Amy Carmichael was fond of calling it.
What on earth can we do to offset and jostle our apathy?
I was once reminded of Jesus’ command to “deny ourselves, and take up our cross.” (Luke 9:23), in relation to the reality of the orphan crisis. The only way we will learn to see is when we die to our comfort: something that is embedded in our American Dream.
Whenever we step out on the painful, costly waves of self-denial and comfort-denial is when God will entrust us with the life-changing sight of what 132 million means. Understanding what it means doesn’t lie in crunching numbers, but in seeing one. The face of one eternal soul, that has eternal significance.
Within ourselves, we don't have even the capacity to stir ourselves, to leave our comforts, until we are brought to realize how the One who redeemed us that we might no longer be orphans (Gal. 44ff) left His comforts, the highest bliss that exists in all that is, whether divine or earthly (John 1:17). The manner is which this realization is brought about is by our crying out for that Spirit which is responsible for raising in us the Abba Cry (Romans 8:14ff).
When we were orphans, set against the Triune God, that God, in a Trinitarian effort, stooped to do all that was required to adopt us. Once we lay hold of that reality, we are able to lean on the Beloved in order to fulfill His command in Luke 9:23.
Of late, God has given me the opportunity to see what it looks like when the Abba cry is raised in the hearts of His people, and that is manifested in love to the Fatherless: love to one, or three, or a dozen, out of the 132 million.
I was helping some friends from church, and one lady received a call from a social worker regarding a four-year old girl who was needed placing for adoption immediately. Even as we accidentally overheard about it when she answered the phone, another lady exclaimed, “If you don’t want her, I’ll take her.” and I admit that I immediately felt the same.
I mean, this is a little girl. Not a number: a little soul. Who wouldn’t say yes? especially when we consider that the Lover of the souls paid the full price to say, completely, justly, and foolproof-ly, “I will take them. I will adopt them. For Myself.”
We can be grateful that God preparing His Children for missionary living through the rediscovery of the Abba Cry. Let’s deny self, run back to Christ as the only meeting place between God and Man, and pray that he would do so for us, by allowing us to understand His heart to reach out and capture spiritual orphans and rebels, and take them into His eternal family.