Systematic Theology is the practice of analysing the basic themes that transverse the Bible in its entirety. Systematic Theology’s intention is to highlight the coherence that exists in Biblical Scripture. Redemption, Salvation, Sin and Grace are a few examples of systemic themes recurring within the Biblical Cannon. God’s attitude toward the oppressed is another.
God’s heart for the oppressed, the weak, the poor and the fatherless is continually exhorted to the reader. A Biblical imperative is to look after the less fortunate. James states the religion that God finds as pure and faultless is caring for the widow and the orphan in distress and keeping oneself pure (James 1:27). God places this imperative upon all of us.
Once whilst training in Surgical Theatre, I had the privilege of being mentored by an Indian Christian Nurse. A highly skilled professional, she had specialized in Disaster Response. This skill-set had led her to earthquakes, tornadoes and even train crashes. Tearfully, she told me of witnessing the dead hanging from power-lines or of seeing people sitting on roadsides with nothing left but the shirt on their backs. Her compassion could be felt as she shared her experiences. Yet, she was not one to give up and decide helping was futile.
On one occasion she found herself with forty orphaned children, victims of one of the disasters she had visited. The nurse explained how the politicians, social workers and medical fraternity had all disappeared when the media’s cameras had left the scene. She was alone, a single nurse contending with mass destruction. She could not leave these forty children abandoned. Calling her father, he encouraged her to take the children home – all forty of them!
This humble nurse, unknown to most, took forty orphans home to care for them. She organized with her sister-in-law to have them housed in a nearby mission; unfortunately, there were no funds to feed them. She prayed earnestly for God’s help. A door opened.
Her husband discovered an opportunity for her to study nursing in New Zealand. It would mean twelve weeks away from her own two children; however, she would earn a higher rate of pay, one that would help feed the forty growing mouths. She took the position and, with her family’s approval, set out to shiver in the New Zealand winter, work three different jobs (including cooking for local labourers) and send every penny home to feed the children.
As this professional nurse told me her story, I felt a tear well in my own eye. I could empathize with her compassion and fortitude. Here was one of God’s children, facing adversity, yet quietly achieving much for the kingdom of God and sacrificing her own life for others. Eventually, after two years, she witnessed all of the children find safe foster homes, a process that took much deliberation. Her story ended in heart ache. She lost her beloved husband to pneumonia. She continues to persevere, trusting God through it all.
We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10), and understanding that God commands us to defend and help those in need sets us on an alternate path to what the world offers. One path ends in futility – the other in eternity.
Often those standing right beside us have chosen the correct path; we simply need to be encouraged that we can to – with God all things are possible.