“Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” Genesis 50:19b-20a Do I really trust God has good plans for me, for my family, for my friends and even for orphans? Sometimes it is hard to fully trust and believe that.
The last year has been hard for people in my community. Many of them are still without jobs; they have lost their homes in the recent fire; they have children with chronic illnesses.
And as someone with a passion to help orphans, it can feel hopeless. There is somewhere between 132-200 million worldwide—650,000 orphans of whom are in Russia. And that doesn’t even count the older orphans who’ve aged out of the the orphanages.
Teenaged orphans must feel this hopelessness so acutely. At 15 or 16, they are on their own, without the protection of the orphanage. They are looking for employment, most of them without relevant skills. They are looking for a safe place to live, without family or mentors to show them how it’s done. And they are looking for someone to love them, many times without ever seeing a healthy relationship modeled.
Can God really redeem the pain, recover what is lost and heal all that’s broken? So often people quote Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” But can He really take this mess and turn it into hope? If I focus on the circumstances all around me, then I think my answer is no.
But the truth is, God never changes. His word never changes. So when the doubt and fear overtake my heart, I have to go back to the scriptures again. I read over and over how faithful the Lord is when the circumstances look like He has forgotten His people. Here are a few examples from scripture:
- Moses killed an Egyptian, but God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.
- Ruth was a widow, but God gave her Boaz who provided above and beyond for both Ruth and Naomi.
- Job lost everything, but God gave him double of all that was lost.
- Rahab was a prostitute, but God saw her sheltering spies on her roof.
- Esther was an orphaned girl, but God made a way for her to save her people.
- Joseph was a slave and a prisoner, but then God made him second in command over Egypt.
- Saul crucified Christians, but then God allowed Paul to start preaching about the crucified Christ.
- Peter lost faith and denied Christ, but God still used him to bring others to Him.
All of these earthly circumstances seemed hopeless, but God gave them all a hopeful future. God sees us and will redeem us. Let’s pray for those around us, including orphans, that God’s plans would come to pass. I am going to trust Him more today that He can take any circumstance and use it for good. I wish I could say I always chose to believe and look expectantly for His faithfulness instead of torturing myself with worry and fear.
Though unseen, God is divinely intervening. If you are walking in what feels like a desperate and destitute place, might I encourage you? Look to the Lord instead of your circumstances today. He's working on your behalf. And it is my heart’s prayer today that he is working for the orphans of the world—those whose names I know and don’t know.