Sunday, April 06, 2014

Through the Eyes of a Child...

This past week has been a week that is heavy on my heart.  Some friends of ours lost their 9 year old son, his twin sister lost her brother and a part of her, and their other son lost his brother.  Grandparents have lost their grandchild and wounds of other friends who have lost children have been reopened.  There are no words to describe what I feel or the heaviness of my heart.  I cannot even imagine the pain, loss and gut wrenching agony of these families.  No matter what their age, parents should not lose their children.

Yesterday, Highland Oaks partnered with a school in our neighborhood to host an egg hunt.  They were already having Saturday school so they wanted us to have the egg hunt before Easter weekend as an incentive to get their kids to participate in Saturday school.  It worked!  Their attendance more than doubled!  But that was not the best part of this day.  The best part of this day was the blessing of getting to serve others; the blessing of see children with full bellies.  Because it's only in serving others that we realize how truly rich we are.  Most of the kids in this school do not have much.  They do not have things we take for granted... like more than one meal a day. We served the kids at the school breakfast before school and then lunch at noon when they were finished. The utter surprise and joy on these kids faces when they realized they could eat as much as they wanted was overwhelming.

We had one child at breakfast who kept saying he wasn't hungry and didn't want to come and get a plate.  Once I finally coaxed him over, he came back 5 times to get more with the biggest smile on his face.  When they were heading to class, some of the kids would ask if they could have a sausage biscuit to save for later.  At lunch we served pizza and one of the kids came and ask me if he could have another plate.  I thought he wanted another plate of pizza, but he wanted another plate so he cover his plate with pizza to save it for later.  You see, what we have learned in serving this school is that some of these kids only get one meal a day.  They are not used to having enough food to eat, they are used to try to space out and save the food they have.  I told him to go and eat his pizza and we would give him more and that we would even give him some he could take home.  He still had a hard time eating his pizza and not saving it.  It broke my heart.

Children of any age should not die to childhood type illnesses.  Parents should not outlive their children and children should not go hungry.  But all of these things happen.  I do not understand it, I cannot comprehend it, and I have no words to try and explain any of it.  But what I do know is that in all of it, God is present.  God is near to the brokenhearted and God is near to those who are hungry.  And I know that God expects us in our abundance to help when we can.  He expects us to be there to show others that He is truly present by the compassion and love He shows through us.

We may not be able to do much, but we can always show people we care.  We can tell people that their is a God who understands and who is near.  We can be Jesus with skin on to the hurting and hungry around us.

It can sometimes be so easy for us to ignore the hurting and hunger that goes on around us.  But when you see things happening to a child, it makes you take notice.  May God be ever present with these families and with these children. May He comfort those experiencing any loss as only He can.  May He give them legs to stand on when they cannot stand and air to breathe when they cannot breathe.  May God be present with these children who wonder where their next meal will come from.  May He give them strength and endurance and exactly what they need for every minute of every day.  May the children we see always be a reminder to see everyone around us, not just the children, through the eyes of Jesus.  Because He died and rose again for every one of us... and none of us deserved it... no matter how much we might want to think we did.  Praise God that He sees us through the blood of Christ and does not see us as we truly are.  Praise God that He is God and we are not.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him from them all;
Psalm 34:17-19

The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
Psalm 147:2-4 

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Mark 10:13-15

He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them,
“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
Mark 9:36-38 


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