“Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord.
God's call and promises can often leave us feeling rather overwhelmed. Even when the promises are a thing of beauty and restoration, they still require some faith on our part. Faith enough to trust that His blessings add no sorrow and that He will sustain us where he sends us. Here in this passage, Isaiah was talking to Israel in captivity, talking of how God would restore them. Isaiah uses the image of a barren woman whom God is inviting to enlarge her tent to make room for the children of blessing she will receive.
As Christians and a society we don't talk about infertility too often. We also don't talk about the longings of single people who have always desired children and family. There are many people for whom, due to variuos life circumstances, their desire to have children has gone unfulfilled. Some, even now, after years of longing, may have given up. Others maybe still pray about it every night, hoping to pour their love into a child. Oh the deep pain of seemingly unanswered prayer.
But God... One day, God remembered the woman's prayers. He invites her to start preparing for the blessings of children whom she will receive. God asks her to respond to His promise by making room. So what does this have to do with fostering and adoption? Is the desire to have your own children a good reason to foster and adopt? Well, yes. People choose to foster for a myriad of reasons, one of them being that they love children and have not been able to have some of their own. It should always be about pouring love into children and being ready to give them what they need. Children in care have different needs because of their past experiences.
Not everyone is suited to foster or adopt. However, some of you might be. It could be the vision of family that God has planned for you. Maybe God has been nudging you towards fostering but you're unsure. Maybe you're scared of the assessment process. Or you aren't sure you have what it takes to do it. Maybe you are scared of rejection after years of disaapointment. May I invite you to take a step of faith? To dare to dream once more and make room for a different conception of what family could be for you? I want to invite you, today, to start to make room. Like the woman in this passage, renew your joy and hope. Burst into song. Make room in your home and your heart for a new possibility. And finally, take that step of faith and contact us to discuss fostering with us. This message is also for those who have children. Maybe God is calling you to expand your family and home to include other children. Will you make room? I invite you to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0191 5656 423. Someone from our team is ready to talk you through this magnificent step.
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.
If you want to know how Christians should live, pay attention to how God describes himself. As those who are made in His image and called to be like Christ His Son, we can be certain that what is close to God's heart should be close to our heart. We should care about what God cares about.
In Deuteronomy 10:17-19 we see God describing himself as one who loves foreigners. He even goes on to describe himself as one who gives them clothing and food. In other parts of the bible God specifically calls his people to care for foreigners in their midst. In the deuterocanonical laws he ensures that the foreigner is protected and cared for. You can see this in how Boaz treated Ruth, allowing her to glean from his field even though she was a Midianite.
So, what has this got to do with fostering and adoption? Well, right now, as I write this, there are numerous conflicts and wars going on across the world. The most recent is the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Ordinary people are now facing incredibly unjust and horrific treatment. Their homes and loved ones are being torn apart and destroyed. Families are being torn apart and children are losing their parents. We can and should pray for this situation. We have a powerful God who is able to intervene. We can also consider a very wonderful and practical way to help children who are fleeing the conflict and find themselves in the UK. We can open our homes to give some care, stability, and love to unaccompanied asylum seeking children.There are many children in our care system who have fled unimaginably horrible circumstances and now have to start afresh in a foreign country, separated from everything and everyone they knew. It is our hope that Christians will rise to their calling to love and care for these dear foreigners in our midst. Perhaps you can do this by fostering a young refugee.
Fostering is a way of providing a safe, welcome, nourishing and supportive environment for children whose homes are no longer capable of providing them what they need. If you'd like to chat to someone about what God may be laying on your heart about fostering, give us a call on 0191 5656 423 .