Make no mistake, we are in the middle of a crisis. There are 111,820 children in the United States waiting to be adopted. There are nearly 30,000 kids in the Texas foster care system. More than 7,000 children in Texas are waiting to be adopted.
How are we, the people who follow Christ, to respond in times of such overwhelming need? Let me suggest we follow the example of Christ himself when he was faced with a large need in Matthew 14:13-21:
“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.’
Jesus replied, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.’
‘We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,’ they answered.
‘Bring them here to me,’ he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.”
Here are three principles we can glean from Jesus’ response:
Acknowledge the crisis. In verse 14, he sees the crowd as well their needs. In response to the orphan crisis in Texas, we must first acknowledge there is one. The 7,000 children waiting to be adopted in this state are real, just like your sons and daughters. They deserve families.
Bring the crisis closer to you. It’s easy to look at large statistics or crowds and feel overwhelmed. In verse 18, Jesus says bring the crowd “to me.” At that point, the crisis becomes personal. He’s looking into the eyes of the men, women and children before him seeking healing and food.
Get to know a foster family as well as children in the foster care system. When you do, the crisis will become more personal to you. You’ll sense how you can best respond.
- Let God work through you. We all know the end of this story. God multiplied the fish and loaves until there was more than enough for everyone. God can do the same through your response to the orphan crisis, whether you become a foster parent, adopt a child, support foster families or offer respite care.
Will you follow Jesus’ footsteps in respond to crisis this week?