1. A two year old in China was hit by a van when attempting to cross a street. The driver, on his cell phone reeling from a recent break-up with his girlfriend, pauses only a moment after his front tires have rolled over her body. Then, hoping he won't get caught, he allows his back tires to roll over her body before fleeing the scene. Eighteen people pass by the little one in the street who is hanging onto life....a motorcycle weaves around her body, another truck allows his tires to run over her little feet and legs....a mother hurries her own child past the body....no one stops. Finally, a garbage collector pulls the little girl to the side of the road and another woman comes and retrieves her body. Miraculously, the two year old is still clinging to life in a hospital (reminding everyone of the parable of The Good Samaritan).
2. Four mentally disabled individuals were kidnapped and then were recovered from a locked steel door in the basement of a Philadelphia apartment complex. One of the individuals was chained to the boiler. The room, reeking with the stench of urine and feces, is not much larger than a walk in closet....not tall enough to stand up straight. Malnourished and starving, each of the individuals also has physical impairments, one of them is blind. The reason for this atrocity? The ring leader of this three person operation decided to kidnap these handicapped individuals in order to steal their monthly social security checks.
Last night, Lydia's homework assignment was to gather 10 questions her class could discuss on Matthew 5. We sat together and I read the entire passage out loud as we considered different thought-provoking questions that might give her 7th grade class pause to dig a little deeper. And then a God moment happened as He used Lydia to nudge me toward digging deeper. Just as I had finished verse 8: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God", Lydia very nonchalantly said: "Well that explains why Hopey sees angels all of the time."
I could have continued reading at that point or I could have chosen to offer my own opinion about the subject, but instead I somehow found wisdom to ask her to explain. And she did, quite beautifully:
"Well, Hopey doesn't really sin, because she doesn't act bad on purpose. If she does something bad, it is usually because she can't express herself and has become frustrated for some reason....that's not really sin. And I guess because she is not capable of sinning like the rest of us, her heart is as pure as any heart in the world. And God says the pure in heart will see God which explains why she sees angels sometimes. Maybe she is even seeing God....wouldn't that be cool?" Then Lydia got up and strode across the room to give Hope a big squeeze.
Oh, how God has changed my life and my perspective with the gifts of Hope and Charlie. And how astonished I am to see how He is constantly changing the lives of Caleb, Lydia, and Natalie because of our two little ones. I blubber every time Caleb pats Charlie's little bald head and says: "I played hard for you tonight bud" after a football game....I melt each time Lydia bravely tells a group of teenage peers to please not use the "R" word and proceeds to share her love story about Hope and Charlie....and I sleep more soundly each night Natalie chooses to tuck into Hopey's bed for the night (even with her broken arm she earned while playing volleyball a couple of weeks ago) just because she wants to be close to her little sister.
Our family has learned and embraced the fact that each individual God creates is a masterpiece that has been sculpted intentionally for His purposes. He is never taken by surprise and never makes mistakes. All too often we become so wrapped up "climbing the ladder of success" or "keeping up with the Jones'" that we miss the life lessons all around us. We are so focused on "stuff", we miss
To close, while I am beyond saddened and disgusted by the two stories that began this post, I humbly accept it was God who created evil so that we would have the opportunity to choose Him and His Way. However, having made that statement, I refuse to sit idly by accepting evil. No, as long as I have breath, I commit to stand:
For God's plan over man's desires even though it means being called to give everything away....
For the weak who I am thankful to serve daily....
And for the ONE who defeats evil and wins in the end! I am sooooo glad He wins in the end!!!
"Vengeance is mine, says the Lord"