Harder Family

Harder Family

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Band of Rescuers

Psalm 82:3-4 "Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked."

I have always had a passion for orphans, both foster kids in the United States and international children in orphanages. I contribute part of this passion to the years my parents did foster care. It opened my eyes as a young person to the great need around us and I was able to see how blessed I was to have a loving home with two parents. I believe the biggest part of my passion and compassion for these children comes from the Lord. It is His heart that cares for the orphan and the widow. He uses His church, who are His hands and His feet, to do this work for Him. I was blessed to take two trips to Mexico with my church when I was in college. These trips ministered to me in many ways. I have longed to take another mission trip since that time and have attempted to go, but God closed the doors. This summer was supposed to be my chance to take a mission trip. Wayne had told me that this was the year that I would be able to go. God had other plans in store. Every time I started making plans, God shut them down. Right before Wayne's episode in February, Wayne and I had been praying boldly for God to open a door for me or the whole family to take a mission trip. We had decided that we'd let God bring the opportunity to us. I came home one day and there was a postcard from a friend from Moody. This postcard mentioned us talking and praying about taking a trip. It felt like the answer we had been praying about for months. I started to get excited with the anticipation of possibly taking a trip. I contacted our friend and told him what we had been praying. I told him how amazing God's timing was and how God answered our prayer through his postcard. We decided to take some time and pray about the possible trip and see what God had in store. It was literally one week later that Wayne had his grand mal seizure. I didn't realize at the time why God was closing all of the doors for mission trips, but now I do. I still am uncertain why God allowed that postcard to come after all of our prayers, but I'm resting in knowing that His plans are always best. 

I've mentioned before that Wayne and I were pursuing adoption over a year ago. I know many people will probably think that we are crazy for even considering something like that...I mean we have six kids already right? Isn't that enough kids? When you have a big family, it is amazing the bold and sometimes harsh things complete strangers will say to you. But we ultimately only answer to one person and that is God. We felt His leading in this area. We contacted a Christian adoption agency and told them that we wanted to do foster care and if the door opens, we'd be open to adopt a child/sibling group from foster care. If you want to know how crazy we are, there was actually one particular sibling group that caught our eye and there were five children!! We figured if God wanted us to adopt them, He would provide us exactly what we needed (Phil. 4:19). There were many factors against us with this particular sibling group. The main one was that the children lived in a different state. I prayed fervently for those children that God would bring them to the exact family they needed. I was believing God to show me just how big He was (which God did later with Wayne). God closed that door, but we kept pursuing and asking God to guide us in this area. We looked at many different avenues and to be honest, I was a little bummed with God that He wasn't opening a door. We were willing and able to adopt, so why wouldn't He open the door? Looking back now, I understand why God said no, but it doesn't change the fact that it was a difficult time to trust His perfect plan. 

After God said "no" to adopting, I decided that there were other ways we could be actively involved in orphans and missions. The girls and I made pillow case dresses for kids in Africa (mainly Sudan), we made blankets for orphans in Sudan, the girls did fundraisers to raise money for kids in the Sudan, and I attended a CAFO (Christians Alliance for Orphans) conference in Chicago. We also found local organizations that we could work with in Chicago-Feed My Starving Children and By the Hand were two of them.

I don't say these things to get accolades from man. I want others to see that there are so many ways we can get involved...we just have to think outside of the box. I know there are those who God may call to adopt that may opt for the easier route. Don't ever short change God. If you feel Him calling you to do something, do it! Take that step of faith and you won't regret it one moment.
Too many of us think we are "too busy" to help as we sit comfortably in our homes. We can't "afford" more children, our homes are too small...the excuses mount. Who exactly is your Father? My God holds the entire universe in the span of His hand and created the world and everything in it by speaking. Do you think that money or things are too big for Him to provide?

I was meditating on how God could be using all of this for His glory. My passion for orphans, my passion for foster children, my passion for adoption, and God's provision of a platform through this blog to share that passion with you. I was wondering if there are those of you on the other side of this computer reading this blog that need a prodding of the Holy Spirit in your life to move you to action. We weren't called to be comfortable, safe, wealthy, worldly, own many possessions, etc. We were called as the people of God to do the following:

1. Love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength (Deut. 6:5). Side note: have you ever noticed in John 17:3 what eternal life is? It's this: John 17:3 "Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent." Wow-eternal life is really about knowing God!!

2. Go into all the world and make disciples, to share the gospel (Matt. 28:18-20)

3. Care for the widow and the orphan (James 1:27) - when we do this, James says that it keeps us from being polluted by the world. We'll be too busy doing God's work to think about ourselves and what we desire. God's desires become our desires, His heart becomes our heart.

I came across this powerful quote from Eric Ludy about this topic. "So who's in? Who's willing to spend their strength for that which burdens God Almighty's heart? Are we willing to listen, to stand up and meet the problem head on? Sure we may die, but couldn't that be why God gave us life in the first place..so that we could spend it for His glory?" Wow! There's some food for thought...why did God give you breath? What is His purpose for your life? Are you fulfilling that purpose?

Maybe the very reason God has given you breath on this earth is to spend your life for Him. Maybe God has given your material blessings to share with others. Maybe God is calling us to get a little uncomfortable in order to bring Him glory by loving on others. Maybe the reason God told me "NO" to so many passions my heart desired was to pass this passion on to YOU and for YOU to respond. I would love God to say YES! If He did, we would jump at the opportunity to serve Him in that manner. Please take a few minutes and watch this clip. Ask yourself if you are willing to be part of a Band of Rescuers.

Are you ready to answer the call? The heart of God is for orphans and widows. Here is one more video on God's heart...and it is super powerful!!

I pray that God draws your heart and that you are open to following His call. We are all called to love and care for the orphans and widows. If you want some more information on where to get plugged in or what organizations are out there, please email me rebeccaharder35@gmail.com. I'll get you any information and put you in contact with the right people. Let's start being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Psalm 68:5 "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling."

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