Do you have any young people in your life? If you do, I truly wish that you would take some time out of your busy life and read this.
Children are an absolute blessing from God.
But children can be trying. They make noise, they make messes, they waste food, and they spill the stickiest of red Kool-Aid on your newly mopped floor. They color themselves from head to toe in blue dry-erase marker while you are on the phone making an appointment to have the ink pen removed from your leather couches. They make an insane amount of mistakes. They can’t complete a task, they are far too loud in church, and they have poor personal hygiene.
But if you are an adult, with children swirling about you in any capacity, take note: These happy, loud, seemingly simple and thoughtless little people have many thoughts going on between the ears. And they have even more going on in the heart.
Do you really see them? Not the noise or the mess----do you see THEM?
There are many, many young people I know that carry burdens that I have never had to carry. They are in unchartered territory without the benefit of someone to guide them through the murky, tempestuous waters of a life they can’t control. They are desperately seeking a harbor of refuge, a place to rest awhile before they must once again sail on the stormy sea. In most cases they are bearing out the effects of the sins of those who are commanded to love them, through the pain of abuse or the confusion of living in a broken home. Sometimes they are afflicted through the ridiculously shallow standards which society and the media use to determine if you are “somebody”.
Do you really see them?
They are real. They are authentic people, with acutely real problems.
And children, by their very nature, are not good problem solvers. They aren’t supposed to be. To proficiently problem solve requires experience and wisdom, two attributes that eclipse child development. A child can’t assess a situation and measure its significance as it relates to the rest of his life, accurately. A child can’t see things as they truly are and as a result do not place the blame of their hurts where it should rightly be. They are taught in school that they are not the result of a Creator that fashioned them in His image, out of His love, but that they sprang up from a primordial ooze with no purpose but to serve self. They are appropriately self-centered, and so whatever problems they are subjected to must be because they are wrong/bad/ugly/too fat/too short/not athletic/not smart/not good enough/unlovable.
If you are a child of God and know Him through His salvation, you have a DUTY to speak truth. You have a DUTY to see a child as a person created for a purpose. You have a responsibility to treat that child with all the respect that your heavenly Father treats you with. You have a duty to be a safe harbor.
Have you ever once cried out to Jesus and found Him to be too busy for you? Has He ever tried to distract you with His blessings so that you would leave Him alone? Have you ever repented to Him of your sins and found Him to be annoyed that you failed, again? Has He ever marginalized you because of your poor behavior? Has He ever, ever withheld His sweet comfort when you have desperately pleaded with Him for it?
The children in our lives need caring ears and soft hearts to listen to them and to love them just for who they are. They need to see that love, Godly true love, seeks not her own, but is patient and kind and longsuffering. They need someone to be a voice of truth when they are surrounded by the lies of Satan.
These children have a warped sense of “love”. They are taught by example that “love” is self-preserving and self-serving. That “love” is selfish, impulsive, doesn’t keep its word, and is conditionally given only to those who deserve it.
Jesus loved children (He still does!). The Savior of mankind came to earth on a mission to glorify His father and to make Himself a perfect sacrifice for all of mankind. And in the midst of healing the sick, raising the dead, and walking in perfection-----He made time for children. The scriptural account doesn’t show Him disciplining them or rebuking them. It simply shows Him being with them. Is there a greater gift that a child could receive, than a heart full of love and an ear ready to listen?
Christian, be the arms and feet of the Savior. Allow God to touch your heart concerning the needs of the hurting children in your midst. Reach out to them, take an interest in them, and pour their needs out before the Almighty God of heaven, that He might intervene in their circumstances. They are starving for the sweet fruit of the Spirit in their lives, and you possess an abundant orchard full of goodies that you can access for them.
I am going to end this post with a poem I stumbled upon many years ago that I can finally read without crying (sometimes), mostly because of my familiarity of the prose:
We pray for childrenwho put chocolate fingers everywhere
who like to be tickled
who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants
who sneak popsicles before supper
who erase holes in math workbooks
who can never find their shoes
And we pray for thosewho stare at photographers from behind barbed wire
who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers
who never "counted potatoes"
who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead
who never go to the circus
who live in an x-rated world
We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions
who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money
who cover themselves with band-aids and sing off key
who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink
who slurp their soup
And we pray for those
who never get dessert
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them
who watch their parents watch them die
who can't find any bread to steal
who don't have any rooms to clean up
whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser
whose monsters are real
We pray for children
who spend their allowance before Tuesday
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food
who like ghost stories
who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub
who get visits from the tooth fairy
who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool
who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone
whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry
And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime
who will eat anything
who have never seen a dentist
who aren't spoiled by anybody
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep
who live and breathe but have no being
We pray for children who want to be carried and for those who must
for those we never give up on
and for those who don't have a second chance
For those we smother... and for those who will grab the hand of
anybody kind enough to offer it.
Ina J. Hughes
Lord, please help me to see through Your eyes, and love with Your heart, and care for the least of these in your kingdom.
May God bless you on this fine day. J