There are moments when the world seems more broken...
Times when you see the raw ugliness.
I would rather write about moments of joy and delight, moments when all is right with the world.
But all the time, I have to write truth...and the sad fact is that sometimes the truth is devastating.
Tonight I was working in the bedroom of my two little princesses. It is the night before school starts, complete with all the prerequisite laundry-folding and lunch-packing. I busied myself picking up all the toys with pointy edges that will invariably greet my bare feet in the groggy get-up hour of 6 a.m., and mixed in with the blocks and dolls was a thin, red slip.
And suddenly my world stopped. The minute my hand touched the slip of paper, faces flashed before my eyes. Voices echoed in my ears. Aching flooded my heart.
The last time I saw a slip of paper like this, it was fluttering out the window of our speeding LandCruiser in Honduras. A Honduran Lempira...
Last week was the first time in my life I had ever seen someone throw money out of the window. I hardly noticed at first. I sat in the front seat with Allen Sowers, our missionary host, hoping to avoid the deathly car-sickness that plagues me on mountain roads. Every now and then, Allen would slide open the ash tray and take a out a red Lempira--worth roughly $.05--and toss it out the speeding window.
And then I started to notice why. The Honduran roads are miserable in places, with pot holes the size of a wading pool. During election years, the politicians get busy filling up the potholes; mostly, however, the job is done by another kind of worker.
A little girl about the same ages as my Lori stands in the middle of the road with her siblings, arms outstretched. I can see her deep brown eyes flash past. She chases the fluttering Lempira as her siblings, all under age ten, work carrying buckets of dirt to fill the potholes.
Later, a 6 or 7 year old boy screams as we go past. The ash tray was stuck and the Lempira flew out after we were past his pothole.
This could be my kids.
That is all.
But for the grace of God, my children could be this desperate.
Seeing something like this changes a person. Hearing a story like this changes a person. Oh, the little hands stretched out, reaching up, begging...the brown eyes hollow and hopeless.
This is why I hate poverty...poverty that sucks the joy out of the world...poverty that ends life before it really starts...poverty in which everything is empty and devoid of promise.
Jesus came to fill this brokenness, to meet this need. As much as I hate poverty, I love Jesus. Our Lord hates poverty--the poverty of sin that keeps us trying to fill up potholes in our wasted souls, potholes that no politician could patch or bucket of sand could fill. And He hates physical poverty that robs the soul of its God-given worth. The child in the road bears God's image. The child in the road is loved by the Father.
You can change the life of one of these children. You can lift them out of the cycle of physical poverty just as Christ lifted YOU out of the cycle of sin and death. You can remind a child of their worth, their value...God didn't make His children to fill holes in the street for scraps.
I am taping the red Lempira up in my home as a reminder...a reminder to thank God for His love and provision in my life, and no less a reminder to do the work that He did...
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor."
Be about His business of raising up these little ones to display the Lord's splendor--the splendor of redemption.
Sponsor a Child at www.compassion.com
***You will notice I have no pictures of these children. I could not bring myself to take a picture.