Sunday, November 1, 2015

Children of the Childless

Ray's Children's cover.jpgIn recent days Children and China have been in the news. That country is going from a one child per family policy to double that number. This is for economic reasons. It caused me to think about a piece I wrote some time ago and included in my 31 day devotional,
 ‘Children – God’s Special Interest.’

With so much tragedy and turmoil in Africa and the Middle East there are many orphan children. Church and non-church groups are reaching out to these traumatised children in a variety of ways. God has a deep interest for their welfare. Those who exploit children are under severe judgement with eternity in unpleasant isolation awaiting. That’s for another blogspot. Today’s is about those who are childless and yet have many children in their care and on their heart.

 Out of His own experience, Jesus makes a promise to those denied either intimate companionship or progeny. Insight into this promise flows from Isaiah 53. Here is recorded the Servant of Yahweh taking upon Himself the role of the sacrificial lamb. In verse 10 we read, ‘…though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days…’
Jesus was single. He had friends, though no intimate relationship. Children He loved, yet was father to none. Through His sacrificial, substitutionary sacrifice, the Lord gave His redeeming and resurrection life to all who put their trust in Him. The cross made it possible for Jesus to have spiritual offspring.

 In Matthew 19:12, the Lord acknowledged there would be some disciples who would remain single. Any number of reasons causing, or leading to, such a status could be listed. The wonder in the mind of the hearers was that such people were not excluded from fulfilling an effective ministry within the Kingdom of God. In fact, their singleness or childlessness, when devoted to God, becomes an unparalleled opportunity.

In city slums, suburban ghettos, isolated villages, children, and others, are being cared for in the Name of Jesus. Many of these carers are single, usually women. Their mother’s heart however, will not be denied. To the disadvantaged, neglected, forsaken, orphaned, or bereft children such a woman becomes ‘mum.’ Within her shadow there is safety, warmth, hope. She is there because of the redeeming love of Jesus. From the fulfilment of Isaiah 53 this lady raises spiritual offspring unto the Lord. For her the words of Isaiah 54:1 become both a song of joy and a badge of honour. ‘Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labour; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,’ says the Lord”

For the childless couple the same holds true. To paraphrase a response of Jesus, ‘behold, my sons and daughters which the Lord has given me!’ There are various ways by which children in need can know the tender care of a servant of the Lord. Such compassion may be face to face, or across distances. Child sponsorship through a Christian organisation offers a unique opportunity for all to be a parent, an elder brother or sister, to someone around the corner, or across the globe.
Life is unfair. Those denied an intimate relationship or of progeny can rise above it without rancour through walking by faith with Jesus. Those who are robbed of mother, father, or relatives even, can discern that unfairness fading away because of the grace of Jesus. For it is in the service of the Lord such unfairness is over ruled through the bringing of the two together. The cross transforms unfairness into ground on which there will be children to the childless, a parent for the orphan. In the words of Isaiah 56:5 ‘I (the Lord) will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.’

 Ray Hawkins Nov 2nd 2015.

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