Sunday, October 23, 2011
Out of the Pit...
I knew a little girl once, growing up in poverty. She didn't live in China or Africa. She lived in the United States of America. I know they say poverty doesn't exist in America. But I know it does. I've seen it with my own eyes. Maybe you have too. Maybe, this little girl lived right down the street from you...
You might have seen her on her way to school. She had big holes in her shoes. She made cardboard cutouts to fit inside the shoes to keep the cold and water out. She really didn't even have her own shoes. Her family couldn't afford them, so she wore the shoes her sister had outgrown. You could tell they weren't hers. They were two sizes too big for her. Her hands and face were always a bright cherry red in the dead of winter. She didn't own a scarf or gloves.
She always went to school hungry. There was nothing to eat for breakfast before school most days. Many nights, her mother fixed bread and butter sandwiches with a bit of sugar on top for dinner. That kept the wolves at bay. Her mother didn't "work". Unless you count the eight children she was struggling to raise. She wasn't a single mom. She had a husband. It just didn't make much difference. He was a young veteran who had fought in the war and then returned to a country that had no job for him. He sank below the poverty line and took his family with him.
Most nights you would find him trying to bury his fears at the corner tavern down the street. She was often told to "Go get daddy." Mommy needed him. It was a frightening place for a child of eight to enter. It was so dark. So noisy. So many men talking funny and looking at her in strange ways. Like any child, frightened by a world she didn't understand, she searched for the safety of her father. She didn't care that he seemed not to recognize her when she found him. She didn't mind that he walked funny and leaned on her when they were walking home. She was just happy she had found him and he was coming home.
When he did come home, though, he carried his fears with him, along with his anger. Rage really. Sheer rage. All the hopelessness and despair of not knowing what to do to care for his family erupted in an out-of-control rage that threatened to crush the life of this family. Life is overwhelming in these kind of circumstances. Especially, for a child.
You may have guessed by now. Yes, I was that child. It was a difficult and, sometimes, terrifying way to grow up. I don't share this with you to evoke your sympathy. But, to simply say that, into the midst of this despairing and angry world came Jesus. He walked right into the darkness and fear and plucked that little girl right out of the enemy's hands and claimed her for His own. Another time, I'll have to tell you how that happened. But, for now, I just want you to know. He came after me and sought me when no-one else knew or cared how lost I was. If He did it for me, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt, He will do it for you.
There is no place too dark, too dirty, too poor, too ugly, too anything, that He will not go to find you. He loves you. No matter what...
Scripture Reference: Psalm 40: 2
"He brought me up out of a terrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps."
Christian Hymn: "He Hideth My Soul" by Fannie Crosby
"He hideth my soul, in the cleft of the Rock
that shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand..."