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Monday, March 18, 2013

Even When We Don't

          It's hard to imagine, when looking at my children whom I would walk through the hottest fire to protect, that there are other children out there in the world who are totally unprotected and even in danger in the presence of their own parents. I think "rape" is the ugliest word in the entire universe. When I hear the ugliest word in the universe paired up with one of the most beautiful and blessed words, children, it makes me feel as though the floor were falling out from under me and there is nothing I can do to stop it. I remember having that same feeling in the first few seconds after I found out my father died. It is not a good feeling.
        The other day at work I was scanning the news pages on the internet at work (terribly swamped, as you can imagine) and a bright red headline jumped out at me from the bottom of the page. I will not repeat exactly what it read here because just seeing the words in print on the computer overcome me with a sadness so heavy I cannot hold it up. The man the article spoke of had hurt a lot of young children in a tragic way. I did not read the article because shortly after seeing that on the screen I excused myself, went outside and sat on the steps next to the front door. I had to have a moment with God after reading that. I cried and asked Him why He allows things like this to happen (major cliché, I know). The interesting thing was I did not feel fearful as I asked God for answers or even just some reassurance. I remember a time in my life when I saw Him as this intimidating, stern-looking judge waaaaay high up on His bench just waiting with His gavel perched in the air to strike it down.  A loving, but unsympathetic and uncompassionate God.
           Lately, however, something has been changing. The night I read the headline for this article (I never even read the article itself) I came to God in a way a child comes to her father when the world is being unfair and she wants Him to fix it. That night, driving home, I began to think of those children again. I think maybe things like this affect me in such a sever way because, in a way, I feel like somebody ought to feel pain for these precious blessings from our loving God. Somebody ought to cry for them. No doubt their parents and loved ones would cry, of course. But what about people who didn’t know them? We are a world that can simply turn its head and pretend nothing is wrong, pretend it didn’t happen. I cannot. Sometimes I feel that if we weren’t so busy pretending all the time we’d face reality and fix it instead of pretending it was something else.
             As I was driving, I talked candidly with God. I cried that if He looks upon the heart than why doesn’t He stop such a sinful thing when He sees it brewing in a man’s heart? I cried for the infants (infants! Infants, for Heaven’s sake!) I cried that I wanted to help but that I could never stop all the children from getting hurt because I could never be everywhere all at once. That is precisely when He cut me off, in mid-sentence, and said, “I can". Very simply but with incredible power. Then He said, in a voice that sounded just like my conscience, that I should pray for the children. This “judgmental and overly stern” God I had imagined was taking me by the hand and comforting me. It was as if He was saying, “I know life is unfair, but I am bigger and stronger than you could ever imagine – don’t sell me short.”
           That night I needed a reminder that God was still there. He did not condemn me for doubting. He did not judge me for wavering. He reassured me. He offered me a place to rest my heavy and heartbreaking burdens, right in His hands. Lately I have been feeling such a heavy sorrow for the world. I find myself coming home from work at night wanting to wake my two sleeping little angels/maniacs to just hold them and feel the weight of them in my arms. I once heard the phrase, “When a woman becomes a mother for the first time she becomes a mother to all children.” Perhaps this is why I cannot stop myself from breaking down in tears when I hear of an innocent, helpless child being hurt. Sometimes I think I am too sensitive but I don’t know how to be any other way. Besides this is the way God made me and I am quite sure He knew what He was doing. (He is God, after all).
            I ended that car ride home with a new prayer; one that gave me a little peace. I prayed for God to be a shield and fortress of protection for those who cannot protect themselves. I asked for Him to stop this kind of sin if He saw it brewing in a man’s heart. I asked for Him to be the justice these children deserve. I do not know how, exactly, He will answer my prayers, but I do know that He knows exactly what He is doing – even when we don’t.
Love always,

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