August 1, 2014

Breaking Chains

It is appropriate, she supposes, that the metal table under her back is shockingly cold.  It mirrors the coldness running through her veins at the thought of what the doctor is about to do.   Everyone says that this is her choice, but really, what choice does she have?  Her one true love, the one she thought would be by her side forever, is long gone.  She has little education, few job skills, and no means of supporting herself, much less another person.  She can’t ask the members of her church for help; they would surely ostracize her if they knew, looking at her with raised eyebrows, scorn and judgment.

The straps around her feet feel as heavy as chains, shackling her to this table, enslaving her to this terrible moment.  The child inside her will never be an orphan; he will never even take a breath.

This desperate girl
and her unborn child
need to be rescued.

For him, the chains are real, securing his foot to his steel bed, eliminating any possibility of freedom.  The bars on the windows are made of iron; whether they were built to keep him in or to keep strangers out, he will never know.  The gates surrounding the orphanage where he lives are made of bronze, ornately decorated so that the multitudes of people passing by every day never suspect the horrors that the children behind them must endure.  

His mother, with great courage and determination, had chosen to give him life, and then took him to the one place where she hoped he would be fed, clothed, and educated.  But he is no longer a baby, and with each passing year he becomes more and more unadoptable.

This dear child needs to be rescued.


She huddles next to her little sister in the dark alley, trying everything she can to keep them both warm.  Quietly shooing away the rats without attracting the attention of the human predators.  Once again they are going to sleep hungry.  The discarded bread crust they found was devoured hours ago, and anyway, their hollow tummies barely felt it.  Once again they have no idea what their future will hold.  What tomorrow will hold.   Once again, they pray that they will survive this cold dark night.

If they are ever going to make it to adulthood, they need protection.  They need nutrition and a safe place to stay and an education and medicine.  Because of the civil unrest in their country, however, and the frequent chaos and the unstable government, there are no social services.  And even if there were, it would be next to impossible to locate their family members.  It would be impossible for anyone to verify their status as orphans.  It would be impossible for them to be adopted.

There are programs in their city that could possibly provide them with life’s basic necessities, if only the funds could be found.  Do the rich people know of their plight?  Do they know that the extra change in their pockets could mean the difference between life and death for these girls?  It’s a simple choice, really:  the price of a life or the price of a latte.

These precious girls need to be rescued.


Thankfully, we don’t have that problem here in the United States.  We have a well-organized social services system that protects vulnerable children and closely monitors the foster homes where they are placed.  We feed and clothe our orphans, provide them with an education and ensure that they have access to health care.

Sure, the living conditions might be better for him.  He may have his physical and medical and educational needs taken care of.  He may not be in danger of starvation.  But eating at a stranger’s table, moving from home to home, changing schools in the middle of the year, not one person in the world who calls him “son” . . . what kind of childhood is that?  A temporary placement can never take the place of a forever family.  The insecurity and inconsistency and loneliness cause him to despair.

He needs so much more than food and shelter.  Every day that he is in foster care, his chains of insignificance and hopelessness and uncertainty become stronger and thicker.  Unbreakable.  The iron bars around his heart become hardened.  Impenetrable.

This invisible orphan needs to be rescued.

Who will show them the way out of the darkness
and the deepest gloom?

Who will break the chains that hold them captive? 
The chains of poverty, fear, starvation, hopelessness.

Who will break down the gates of bronze
and cut through the bars of iron?

Who will sponsor them? 

Who will welcome them into their family?

Protecting life.  Providing a family through adoption.  Child sponsorship.  Foster parenting.  Each one of them is vital to a child’s life.  Each one is an important pillar in the ministry – the grand, daunting, sometimes overwhelming ministry - that we call orphan care.  Individuals and families who aspire to make a difference for these orphaned and vulnerable children - who devote their lives to serving “the least of these” - are pursuing a calling that is noble, valuable, and selfless, and many times even heroic.

Every time an adult takes the first step – picking up the phone to request information; attending an introductory meeting or a conference; praying about where to serve – the darkness trembles.

When the judge in family court bangs his gavel?  That’s the sound of chains breaking.

A child’s laughter.  A ride on dad’s shoulders.  Getting tucked into a warm bed with a big smooch and a playful tickle.  One by one the iron bars are being cut, the bronze gates are breaking down.

However . . .

We must never, not for one minute, lose sight of the fact that these children need to be rescued from something much more sinister and dangerous than orphanages, hunger, and hopelessness.  Even more terrifying than starvation and death.  There is a stronger chain, an impenetrable gate, and bars that are completely indestructible that even the most altruistic, sacrificial person is incapable of breaking.  These children, along with every person ever born on this earth, are slaves to darkness.  They are in an isolated, lonely prison cell that separates them from a holy God.

If we protect lives and adopt orphans and sponsor the poor and care for foster children, all the while neglecting their need for a Savior, we will have done them no favors.  We will have accomplished nothing.  Their physical needs may have been met and their futures may have been secured – temporarily.  But it is their spiritual need, their eternal future that is far more important. 

Yes, we can rescue them from their present circumstances. 
But only He can rescue them from their sin.

Yes, they need a father. 
But they need a Heavenly Father even more.

Yes, they need to be safe. 
But more importantly, they need to be saved.

They need to know the love of Jesus, and understand how to find forgiveness at the foot of the cross. 

They need to learn how to put their hope, not in a human parent or in ideal circumstances, but in a sovereign, loving God who will never fail.  Who will never disappoint.

He is the One who is able to heal the deep wounds.  Who is able to offer true and lasting Hope.  Perfect Freedom. 

He is the One who is who can bring them out of darkness and the deepest gloom.  Who can break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. 

Let us never forget that He is the only One who can truly break their chains.


“They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress. 

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things

Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains,  . . . Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distressHe brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. 

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds, for He breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron. . . “

Psalm 107


 My husband and I are involved in
the orphan care ministry at our church in Cary, NC.

The ministry is based on these pillars:
Proclaim the Gospel
Protect Children
Provide Resources
Provide a Home
Promote Awareness

For more information and updates about this ministry,
please “like” our Facebook page at

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