I love that God gave us the stories of people, real people, in his word to look back at. I love that we get to see their flaws and their successes.
In the first verse in the book of Job, we learn Job was a righteous man, and throughout the book, we get to peek into how he lived his life for God.
One of the verses that stands out to me lately is Job 31:32: “No stranger had to spend the night on the street, for I opened my door to the traveler.”
I love that God allowed us to see Job’s hospitality.
In light of the recent news that Texas children in foster care are sleeping in Child Protective Services offices because of the shortage of foster homes, I wonder how many of us could stand before God and make the same statement Job did. Could we say we opened our doors? Could we say we kept people from spending the night on the streets?
For many of us in Texas, unfortunately, I don’t believe we could make that claim. I think we would have to admit to God that although he has provided us with room and resources, we have allowed children to spend the night in CPS offices across the Lone Star State.
We would have to admit that children have been removed from everything that they know and love and instead of being welcomed into a warm home with a friendly smile, they are temporarily sleeping in cold business offices on cots with thin blankets.
Thankfully the state has a program to care for the abused and neglected children among us, but the program revolves around people opening their doors and their homes to temporarily foster children.
And we aren’t holding up our end of the bargain.
I’m not trying to be harsh. I’m just sharing the truth.
The truth is that these children need us. They need us to open our doors.
My husband and I have been foster parents for two-and-a-half years. We have seen many children come through our doors. Some of them have been here for a few days, and others now bear our last name. We aren’t sure how long we will be foster parents, but we are loving the opportunity to love children who need it during this season.
I asked Bailey*, the 16-year-old who is currently living with us, about her first day away from her mom. She told me she was really angry, and she remembers her little brothers crying for most of the day. When I told her children were currently sleeping in CPS offices due to the lack of foster parents, she was upset. I asked her what I could say to help people understand that we need more foster parents, and her response was simple:
“You should ask people how they would feel if their kids were sleeping in an office instead of staying with a family.”
I think Bailey has a good point.
Often times it is easy for us to make excuses for not opening our doors to those in need because we push it off as someone else’s problem.
However, if we take a look back at the life of Job, Abraham, Zarephath, Nehemiah, Lydia, Aquila, Priscilla and many others throughout the Bible, we can see the people of God saw those in need not as problems but as opportunities to show God’s love.
Throughout God’s word, we see the people of God showing hospitality to strangers, taking care of the needy and looking after the orphan.
So, I guess the question is, will we be the people that God wants us to be? Will we open our doors, or will we allow children to keep spending the night “on the street”?
*Name has been changed for confidentiality
Amber Hawk is a Buckner foster and adoptive mother living in Southeast Texas.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Texas foster care system has been in headlines all over the state. There has been a shortage of foster families and an increase in the number of children removed, which means children are having to spend the night in CPS offices on makeshift beds while they wait for a safe place to go. Buckner is a leading foster care and adoption agency in Texas and as Christians, we feel compelled to respond by bringing awareness to the issues, dispelling stigmas and giving tangible ways for you to help a hurting child who needs a warm bed and loving family. See full coverage of the crisis here.