Day 8

Making Room for Widows and Orphans



Isaiah 1:17, Psalm 68:4-6, John 14:15-18, 1 Timothy 5:3-16, James 1:27

BY Rebecca Faires

The first day I met Gus, he screamed at me. I had lived a quiet life up until that point, and I had never heard screaming like this before. I myself have screamed at swim meets, at being tickled, while riding on roller coasters—but never like this. Gus’s screams terrified me. His eyes were far away and unreasoning. It was like all the unknown in him rushed out of his mouth and straight at me. I wanted to run away from him and back to my quiet life. But I couldn’t run because Gus was going to be my son, and the paperwork was already at the Embassy in Ethiopia. What was I going to do—chicken out because he’s loud?

If we were together and you cared to hear, I would tell you about our adoption of two baby boys from Africa, and how they scared the curse words out of me. (They still scare the horse apples out of me sometimes.) And I would tell you that God has been so gracious and redemptive in our lives. But that’s a long story. So let’s just talk about loving people we are afraid to love, people who maybe scare us because they come from a different place. Honestly, it scares me to love people who are not like me, but it turns out, gospel love isn’t about me anyway. It’s about Jesus and how He loves.

Hospitality is uncomfortable. There are people who make me want to run. To a certain degree, we all like a quiet, settled life. I mean, it’s easier to remain comfy and contented with the people we’re used to, rather than to engage with those we don’t know anything about. It can feel awkward, even risky, reaching out to people who are different, whose lives seem so dissimilar to our own.

This is the heart of hospitality: finding people on the margins and bringing them in. Remember in Psalm 68, David praises the Lord because He “provides homes for those who are deserted” (v.6). “He defends the rights of the fatherless” (Isaiah 1:17). But this hospitality extends well beyond adoption or caring for widows. God has given us so many ways to reach out to the solitary, those who’ve been deserted.

The first step to hospitality is one of obedience: we must bring people in. This obedience helps us form soup kitchens, deliver casseroles, care for widows and orphans, and welcome people into our homes. But this is only the first step. Because once we have invited people in, we are called to love them the way Christ loved us.

In the book of Zephaniah we see this exquisite mystery:

The LORD your God is among you,
a warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with gladness.
He will be quiet in his love.
He will delight in you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

Our heavenly Father rejoices over us with singing! And because we are called to imitate Christ, we can’t just stop at going through the motions and serving folks soup once a year or when convenient. We are called to rejoice over others with singing; to love them.

Making this jump on our own is impossible. The only way to change our hearts is to submit them to Christ. Pray with me today that God would teach us hospitality toward widows and orphans and all those on the margins—and not only hospitality, but love.

Post Comments (128)

128 thoughts on "Making Room for Widows and Orphans"

  1. Daphne Freeman says:

    I almost skipped over this reading today. I’m dealing with bitterness with helping the fatherless. I love my busy, loving, caring, compassionate pastor husband but my bitterness is toward being a disappointment. I suppose I should go back.
    We’ve fostered. Past tense. It took a long time of asking, praying, asking some more and one day all it took was a person inviting my husband to a meeting that discussed foster care in our county. I was livid, I ugly cried, I used not nice words. I didn’t understand why one stranger asking him to come listen and consider it would be “do-able” but me crying myself to sleep at night didn’t convince him.
    He’s a great man, please don’t think he isn’t. He is just extremely busy like every pastor I’ve ever met. He didn’t understand why I wanted to foster so badly. He loves children but he thinks we are too old to have children in our home to raise. I’m 46 and this happened almost 2 years ago. I don’t feel old, but I guess he feels old for me. We have 3 great adult sons and a sweet daughter in law and one coming in November, and he feels like we need to prepare for grandparenthood.
    Fast forward- he finally conceded to foster, we did. Our first child wasn’t the age we agreed to take in but we did it anyway. There’s never been a child as full of hate and rage in my home as J. He hated life, no, he hated women therefore, he hated me. He was almost 3 and I cried for him. I wanted to love him and for him to receive it. My husband would just look at me with sadness and say, “this is why.” When J left I was so afraid that I took a break for a few months, then C came into our home. I loved this little girl like she was mine. She loved me too. She was wounded and I wanted to fight for her and help her. We did too. The possibility of her becoming ours came up and immediately I allowed my excitement to trick my mind into thinking she would be our forever girl. One day she asked if I could be her mommy but soon after we were told she would be leaving.
    They took her to her aunt and my heart hurt like never before; it was like a I was losing another baby. My husband loved her but knew my pain was bigger. The words he spoke as her aunt’s van drove away, “this is why”…
    We aren’t in the system to foster any longer and it’s my fault. I still feel like I could take in children but my husband asked if we could take a break and I chose to allow our certifications to lapse during that time. He decided to continue his education and I decided to not bring up fostering ever again. He didn’t want to do it and I believe he did it for me. So now I let his words resonate in my thinker, often, “we are too old to adopt and fostering is too hard on you.”
    Sorry I’ve kept you- but sometimes my bitterness is more like jealousy or maybe disappointment, anger, or extreme repulsion. Whichever one it resembles most today it is ugly and makes me recoil in hurt and embarrassment. I’ve failed and wanted this to be the one ministry I could do, after all, I am a
    mom.
    This reading today was really hard when one walks around believing they’ve become a total disappointment to their Savior, husband and children and church.

    1. Hallie Waugh says:

      Daphne, I pray today you would know that you are NOT a disappointment. You have a heart that is open to God’s leading and open to the fatherless. I heard someone say once that God is more concerned about WHO you become—your heart and your character— than what you do (fostering or not fostering). Caring for the fatherless sometimes means taking in a foster or adoptive child, and sometimes it looks different. There is so much grace. I pray you feel free and empowered to love whoever is right in front of you in each moment. I pray you find God there. ❤️ Sending love, sister.

      1. Daphne Freeman says:

        Thank you, Hallie. I appreciate your response. My heart truly is seeking but disappointment tries to keep me from seeing what is all around. The glimpses that I catch have kept me going. I remind myself that God wants us to act on His leading, not just hear it. I’m ever listening.♥️
        Happy Sunday, friend.

  2. Caity says:

    I love this passage as I work with foster children but I couldn’t help but find one of the comments kind of hurtful. I know we are not suppose to have children out of wedlock but it happens and if God did not want them here they would not be.my child was born out of wedlock during a bad time and my child and experience has brought me closer to God. Sometimes I just get so discouraged when I see a comment that just touches me the wrong way I love these sermons they bring me so much peace but I feel so much judgment no matter where I go.

  3. Steph C says:

    “God places the lonely in families” (Ps 68:6 NLT). May my heart and home be open to the lonely who need a family. I work as a nurse in an LTAC. Sometimes we have patients for months and never see a family member visit. I don’t know their story. They may truly have no family. Or they may be estranged from their family. But my heart always wants to “spoil” these patients a little more. People need love to heal, to grow, to thrive. Let my heart be filled with love. Let my hands be kind and tender to those who need love ❤️

  4. Hannah Lane says:

    My husband and I are foster parents and have a girl who has some BIG behaviors and this was a great reminder to trust him to help us not just allow her to live here, but to love her like he does.

  5. Jersey Girl says:

    Tori,

    Having been in a similar, lesser situation, best I can tell you is that God is so trustworthy and often times, those people we sacrifice to help are often the ones who help us in the long run. God will provide; just never stop pressing into His care and provision for a second.

  6. Tori Espinosa says:

    This was a good read for me today. Especially in the book of Timothy when discussing caring for widows. My fiance and I are soon getting married and while his mom isn’t necessarily a widow, she is divorced and will be living alone for the first time in her life. With that said, one of my fears is that in time she will end up living with us and our future children because of her financial situation. My fiance plans to still help support her financially, even when we get married (which I truly think is admirable of him), but we have different views on this idea. It’s really been a struggle for me to accept and come to terms with, but today’s passage put me in my place. As we get ready for this transition of marriage and joining of families, please pray for me and that my heart will remember that we do need to take care of her regardless of my fears and discomfort about the situation and that if she needs to live with us in the future, that I will welcome her with more loving arms.

  7. Taylor Keunen says:

    what an incredible message today!! this one ready spoke to me.

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