Does it bother you that there are 100 million street children and 150 million orphans worldwide?
My family recently watched the excellent film Amazing Grace about William Wilberforce and the abolition movement in the United Kingdom in the 1800s.
It was an amazing film of Wilberforce’s battle in the British Parliament for the abolition of the slave trade.
In a scene in the film, Wilberforce is talking to his future wife Barbara. She asked him why he could not talk any longer about the matter of slavery. He responded, “I have been battling slavery for years, and yet after all the petitions, all the speeches, and all the bills presented to Parliament, ships filled with human souls in chains continue to sail around the world as cargo!”
Slaves were continually beaten, brutalized, raped, killed, even little children burned alive, and separated from their families. Masses of slaves died in the hulls of slave ships. After years and years of fighting the slave trade, Wilberforce felt nothing seemed to have changed.
Many of us in ministry to street and underprivileged children, and orphans can easily be discouraged. We have had camps for thousands of needy children, street children, and orphans. We cared for hundreds of precious little ones, rescued hundreds from pedophiles, opened hundreds of orphan homes, day care centers, and challenged church after church in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America to reach out to needy children. And, yet, there are still 30,000 children dying daily from malnutrition and disease, another 160 million still on the streets, 143 million orphans throughout the world, 27 million slaves (mostly children) in the nations of the world with up to 400,000 child slaves in Haiti alone.
Yes, we see thousands rescued and coming to Christ every year, but there are still millions not being reached. It is easy to be discouraged as was Wilberforce, and yet, he continued on through the power of God to see the slave trade throughout the British Empire come to an end. Will we continue on as God’s servants in ministry to children? If this was just our work, possibly so, but we, however, take encouragement from God and His Word.
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren [and sisters], be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:57-58, nasb).