“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
In Part One of this post, I explored this go-to verse in the adoption & foster care movement within the church. I’ve often used it personally as a tool for inspiring people to take action on behalf of orphans and at-risk children. It’s an amazing verse of scripture yet somehow we’ve missed the instructions in verses 1 – 26 of James 1 which lay out some expectations in our journey to care for the orphan and the widow and keep ourselves pure.
We should ask for wisdom.
If there is one thing that I’m absolutely certain you’re going to be begging God for on a regular basis in your foster care/adoption journey, it’s wisdom. There’s absolutely no way to be the healing hands of Jesus to our wounded children without wisdom.
These two verses in James 1:5 & 6 are so encouraging, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the world.” The type of wisdom that James is referring to here goes far beyond just book knowledge – it’s a deep wisdom concerning the purpose of trials. When faced with a difficult behavior or unexpected outcome we’re to ask God and He will faithfully give us wisdom to know what to do, how to respond and how to direct our thinking.
“..ask in faith with no doubting.” Sometimes this is where it gets difficult. We doubt ourselves, our abilities, our parenting… we doubt our children and their resiliency. If we truly believe that God has called us to parent these children, we must also expect that he’s going to equip us for the journey. This is the type of faith we’re to have without doubting. In other words, I understand that parenting my children from hard places is going to be challenging, exhausting and sometimes push me to my absolute limits. However, I know that when I ask God for the wisdom in any situation, He will grant it generously.
None of us can do this on our own. We must hold tightly to Jesus and daily ask for wisdom to be faithful to love His children.
Avoid double-minded thinking.
The next few verses follow up on the warning in verse 6 that “…he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” Verse 7 & 8 continue with, “For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
When times get tough, I often see this play out in adoptive/foster families in this way, “I just don’t think I can do this any more, maybe I missed God.” “I know that God wants me/us to adopt but maybe ‘this’ child wasn’t the right one.” We must avoid wavering back and forth in our commitment to our children. If we believe that, as believers, our steps are ordered – we must believe that the child sleeping, eating and living in our house is suppose to be there and that we have very specific God-ordered position in their lives for healing and redemption.
To waver in this commitment is to be double-minded and in doing so James tells us that we become unstable. Stability is the very thing that we’re seeking to bring into the lives our children, yet we so easily fall into doubt causing us to vacillate between total commitment and conditional commitment. We must guard our hearts against doubt and take all of our fears and challenges to the Lord, trusting that His grace is enough and that He will give us wisdom to touch the hearts and minds of our kids.
I’d love to hear from you. Do you have an example of finding wisdom in parenting your children? Or, struggling with doubt? How did you overcome it?