Last week, I shared with you Grace’s story and how her uncle wanted to pull her out of school and marry her off. Grace, her siblings and mother were dependent on him for support. He decided to use that to get his way. He told Grace’s mother: “I won’t support you any more. Go back to your father’s house and send your children away to the orphanage, then!” When Grace’s mother still refused to allow her daughter to drop out, he beat this brave widow. Continue reading
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (Is 1:17, ESV)
The other day I was talking to a colleague about what the best expression of God’s heart for the orphan in Egypt. I mentioned Isaiah 1:17, “bring justice to the fatherless.” My colleague intrigued me by replying, “It’s just that justice sounds so harsh, like a courtroom. But when you hear “orphan,” it brings up a caring kind of feeling.” Orphans from the poorest households in Egypt surely can find themselves in desperate need of basic help and care, but what does justice have to do with it? She really hit on a sense that I realized many share.
So what does justice have to do with being orphaned?
Coptic Orphans has two criteria for accepting a child into our flagship program, Not Alone: the child’s father must be deceased, or the child’s father abandons the family — such as when the father have converted from Christianity. That’s because conversion in Egypt is permanent, and has permanent implications for children very similar, at best, to a father’s death.