What is God’s Heart for the Vulnerable?
Making a Way for the World’s Helpless and Hurting to Flourish
It’s not uncommon for my family to receive extra attention and comments from strangers when we’re out and about. We’re an adoptive family with various ethnicities represented, and also have identical twins, so we can stick out a bit. My husband, Ben, and I often hear well-intentioned things like, “Oh, you are such good people to care for vulnerable children!”
We do our best to redirect these conversations because the truth is, our children have never known vulnerability because their birth moms chose to place them in a safe and loving home from day one. It turns out that the vulnerable ones in our lives aren’t our children but rather their first moms who found themselves unexpectedly pregnant.
God Makes a Way in Scripture
Throughout Scripture, we see a God who cares for vulnerable women like our children’s birth moms. I love the story of Hagar—how God cared for a servant who was taken advantage of and tossed aside. The Lord listened to her affliction, and because of His great love, he promised to bless her.
The story of Rahab shows us how God can save women in vulnerable positions. He chooses a prostitute–shamed and rejected in her society—to bring about His Kingdom, eventually through the lineage of Christ.
There is story after story of God’s love for the vulnerable in Scripture. From the imagery of Boaz caring for Ruth to how Jesus ministered to a bleeding woman, we see a God who consistently protects and makes a way for vulnerable women.
God Makes a Way through Changing Hearts
Before meeting our son’s birth mom, I didn’t see adoption as a way to care for vulnerable women. We were laser-focused on providing a home for children because we adamantly believed–and still believe–that every child should have a safe and loving family where they can thrive.
And yet, through the process of adoption, God has grown my heart to continue to fight for the safety and stability of children while advocating for the women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. As I prayed and asked God to break my heart for the people and things that break His heart, He opened my eyes to the needs of the women who chose our family to parent their children.
And boy, did He answer that prayer! Slowly, He changed my heart and attitude from one of judgment of their life choices to compassion, acknowledging the courage it took for them to choose life. Rather than only caring for our children, I realized that God wanted to make a way for these women through our family. We have expanded our definition of “family” to include our children’s birth parents as well.
God Makes a Way Here and Now
As God grew a love for our children’s birth families in our hearts, God provided opportunities to work for their well-being in the here and now. From opportunities to meet tangible needs to answering their calls in the middle of the night, God has slowly knit our hearts to theirs. He’s called our family to be His hands and feet for these women, here and now, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Regardless of their life choices, we keep on believing, hoping, and praying for God’s redeeming love to transform their lives. And we’ve seen Him move in some miraculous ways.
God Makes a Way for the Vulnerable through You
Why did I share our story with you?
Well, I believe that God makes a way for the vulnerable through His Church…through everyday ordinary people just like me and you. Perhaps you’re not in the adoption or foster care space, but I adamantly believe that if you are praying and asking God to open your eyes to ways you can join God’s mission of loving the vulnerable, He will. He absolutely will.
Perhaps you’re in the medical field and you can contribute to reducing the mortality rate of Black women giving birth in the United States.
Or maybe you have a dream about tackling the housing crisis for vulnerable women in your city.
You could be an educator who has the opportunity to serve as a bright light for Jesus in a Title I school.
Whatever it is, God wants to use you—your unique circumstances and giftings—to make a way for the vulnerable in your community. He has always used ordinary people to do extraordinary work for His Kingdom, and so I invite you to join Him in a thrilling and fulfilling life on mission!
I ultimately want to leave you with one question: What is one way God can use you, today, to care for the vulnerable in your community? And if you’re not sure, would you be willing to commit to praying and asking God to open your eyes today?
Dr. Brittany Salmon is a professor and the author of It Takes More Than Love – a book on cross-cultural adoption published by Moody Publishers. Brittany is passionate about taking theology and applying it to everyday life, and yet the people closest to her know her as the friend who loves oversized sweatpants and good conversation over coffee. She lives in Wilmington, N.C., with her husband, Ben, and their five children.