“Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.” (Psalms 119:132)
This week I have been helping my husband teach 3 classes a day at a Vacation Bible School here in the state of Maine. We start with 1st – 3rd grade, then have 4 and 5 year olds and then 4th – 6th grades. Oh how my heart has been touched by their little smiles and friendly chatter as they come bursting through the door to see what is next.
There is one thing I have observed though that pains me and that is the lonely, sad, angry and pitiful looks behind some of their eyes. It gradually worsens with each age group and I feel somewhat helpless as I know I cannot reach inside their lives and fix what is causing that sadness.
I commented to my friend that it makes me wonder if today’s children have seen too much or know too much because of television and the internet that we didn’t have to combat with when we were children. I used to be happy swinging upside down from the pear tree in my backyard or sitting on top of the old shed reading a book. I was a kid and I lived like one. But the devil still managed to get at me.
I remember the very moment a a child when my life held it’s first piece of inner turmoil. It wasn’t when mama cut her leg with a tin can and I saw the blood gushing out and daddy running her to the hospital. It wasn’t when grandpa fell in the shower and I sat in the hospital waiting room as the adults talked about the fact he had died. It wasn’t when we ran over my kitty cat on the way to town. It wasn’t when I lost my mom’s engagement ring down the tub drain or even when the trailer caught fire.
No, it was the moment I was snooping around in the house of a relative and went to see what was under their bed and I found a dirty magazine. My little mind couldn’t handle what I saw. That was the very second I know that part of my innocent childhood was taken from me. It was not long after I had seen that awful filth that an older brother of a friend cornered me in her house as we played one day and he tried to harm me. Again, part of my childhood seemed to be stolen away. And I believe my wide eyed optimism of the world stopped during that time and a cynicism entered. Along with the new distrust I felt I was also filled with a desire for something clean that I didn’t know how to explain at that age. I remember sitting and listening to Billy Graham preach on television and I felt a longing to be important to someone other than mommy and daddy….I wanted God to see me.
That is the look I have seen this week in the children at VBS. They have seen and heard too much for their little minds and they want something to remove that icky feeling that they don’t know how to explain. They have come to the church house in order to participate in fun and games with their friends, but you can’t tell me they aren’t searching for SOMEONE to really see them. When I ask them to sing “Jesus Loves Me” they stand and sing with all their hearts. I watch each of their faces and I realize that they don’t know how to NOT love God’s name, they just do because they haven’t learned to consider anything else.
I believe the devil is hard after them to make that final death blow to their conscience, just like he has so many others over the course of time.
Praise be to God, you and I can intervene on the behalf of these children all over the country where we serve. As we long for God in our own lives like the psalmist, and we raise our hands to Him and ask Him to see us, and we continue to love His name, we can also pray that the little ones coming behind us will find Him early in their lives before the ugliness of sin dominates them.
Yes, we need to pray.
Yes, we need to seek God for our lives.
But don’t forget the young American, the young Brazilian, the young Chinese, the young African, the young Russian, the young Islander, the young Canadian, the young Japanese, the young Israeli, the young Pakistani, the young European, the young Australian….the young. Could we not include them in on our prayers?
The psalmist makes note of the fact that he wants God’s mercy because he loves His name. Do you love God’s name? Then do what He did, care about others.
Let’s dwell in God in a form that is not selfish. Let’s be the ones who get help so that WE can offer help to those lonely little hearts looking for peace.
Until Next Time, Lord willing,