Holding Their Hands

dirty

For the past week and a half, I was in South Dakota helping with Vacation Bible School on one of the reservations.  I am always captivated by the wide open sky out there that showcases hosts of stars at night and a moon that seems large enough to touch.  Each time I am there, I leave pieces of my heart behind as I fall madly in love with the kids.

But after short-term mission work or week-long bible schools I feel ashamed of us, Christians.  More personally, I feel ashamed of myself.

I’m ashamed of the way I hold my head away from the child in my lap so that I will not get lice.  I’m ashamed of the thoughts (or should I say worries about diseases) that cross my mind as I wipe bloody noses.  I’m ashamed of how quickly I wash after I’m done holding the kids’ sticky hands.  I’m ashamed of the way I revolt at the dirty clothing worn day after day or the smell of wet diapers that were never changed before a four-year old arrived for bible school.  But mostly I’m ashamed that I don’t step out of my clean comfortable world often enough to be okay with touching, hugging, and holding the dirty, hurting, and forgotten.

If I could step into these kids’ shoes and see their actual lives, I would hold unto them and weep, never once thinking about how my name-brand clothing is being soiled or how their lollipop is stuck in my hair.

If I saw the way River’s mom was too drunk to even know where her daughter was, I wouldn’t care about the spaghetti sauce caked around River’s mouth; I would kiss her cheek and let her know that she is loved.  If I saw the way Jordan’s dad beat him, I wouldn’t care how much his clothing stank; I would wrap my arms around him and wipe away his tears.  If I saw the house that Summer lives in, I would not care about the lice crawling through her hair; I would bring my head against hers and tell her how special she really is.

That’s what children like this need to see- not a bunch of “clean” Christians who swoop through a place for a few days with Bible stories (so they can say they did something for God or have pictures to show people at home how lucky they are to have been raised in a good home)—– but a Christian who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and live out the love of Jesus day after day because his heart is overflowing with compassion and mercy. .

I don’t have anything against short-term mission work and summer bible schools; in fact, I plan to still help with such things because a lot of amazing things can be done for God through these.  But I want to challenge myself to make it a daily habit to step out of my comfort zone and “get dirty”.  The best example we could ever have is Jesus.  Jesus actually touched the lepers, even though they were contagious, stinky outcasts whose skin was deteriorating and rotting.  Jesus laid His hands upon the sick and hurting because He wanted to show that His love was greater than their sickness, destitution, or social status.

I want to break the shell that separates me from the world.  I want to let go of the values I place on the physical and switch it to the emotional and spiritual levels.  I want to serve until I no longer see people in terms of appearance but I see them in the way that God sees them.  I want my arms to be open, even to the unloveliest child.  I want my heart to break for the most forgotten elderly person.  I want my tears to be shed for the hurting teenager.

This is a fairly familiar song, but I love the lyrics every time I hear it.

“Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black top
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breathe in the familiar shock
Of confusion
And chaos

All those people goin’ somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what’s underneath
There’s a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work, he’s buyin’ time

All those people goin’ somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see

I’ve been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just move and pass me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way You’ve seen the people all along

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see” -Brandon Heath

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2 thoughts on “Holding Their Hands

  1. Laura Schrock says:

    I don’t know you, but this showed up on my Facebook newsfeed, and it’s very well written. And true. I used to live in Cherry Creek. God bless you. You’re on the right track.

    • Thank you so much, Laura! That is really neat that you had lived in Cherry Creek. Were you a teacher or personal worker? What year/years were you there? I’m sure you faced a lot of different (good and bad) experiences during your time.

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