As many of you know, orphans have captured my heart. In my inspirational book for American parents, One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children to Change the World, I urged them as, at least part of their family mission, to invest in the plight of orphaned and abandoned children worldwide, whether via relief organizations or adoption. I’ve also spent significant time working with rescued orphans, listening to their impossibly heart-wrenching stories of rejection, abandonment, fear, abuse, starvation, and complete desperation.
In short, I love orphans and I believe God loves them infinitely much more. But not so long ago, I honestly thought (because I was taught this growing up in church) that all orphans who didn’t hear about Jesus and accept Him before they died, were going to hell.
How utterly depressing.
There are an estimated 147,000,000 orphans in our world today, most of whom will be going to hell according to mainstream Christianity. What’s odd though is that while God commands throughout his Word for us to assist orphans and widows (feed them and defend their rights), he never once commands us to to share the Gospel with them or to help snatch them from the fiery eternal flames.
“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress…” (James 1:27).
Never once does He (or anyone else) say to share the Gospel with them or snatch them from eternal flames.
If God were planning to send most of the world’s poorest of the poor to hell because they don’t (and can’t) believe in Him now, why would He care about meeting their physical needs while they’re alive? I don’t see what difference it would make for these outcasts to have a few extra years of full stomachs while living in a “hell on earth” in every other way. We’d basically be prolonging their suffering and giving them a little pat on the back before sending them off to everlasting doom.
Many of the orphans I’ve met would welcome a quick departure from the horrible existence they face daily in this world—sickness, starvation, terror, loneliness, abuse, complete rejection, sex slavery, and many other forms of exploitation. Should I expect that because nobody shared the Gospel with them that they will endlessly burn in hell after a few years of hell on earth?
The simple fact is that all orphans and widows are very near and dear to the heart of the Father and He has no intention of rejecting them or sending them to hell. His intention is for us to demonstrate His Fatherly heart toward them, feeding them and caring for their needs as an extension of “God’s love with skin on.” In fact, isn’t that the purpose of the Gospel—to impart the life we’ve been given to others, beginning right now?
Perhaps, as we contemplate the plight of orphans, we will come to recognize that we are also orphans who have needed a hand out of the gutter of life. Because of sin and separation from our true Father, we have all been orphaned and hung out to dry. Yet we will all be found—adopted back into the family as sons and daughters—every last one. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18).
Though their lives in this world are so difficult, orphans and widows are the very heartbeat of God. I feel so much happier knowing that ALL those that we are unable to reach will someday be given a front row ticket to provision, protection, and happiness. Every tear will be wiped away, and every want will be filled. Can you imagine the happy heart of the Adoptive Daddy when He brings all of His children home from the gutters?
Adapted excerpt from my latest book, Raising Hell: Christianity’s Most Controversial Doctrine Put Under Fire. Order your copy on Amazon today!