September 14, 2016
Look at Me, Child
“So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31 (NIV)
She wore a white dress. It was tattered and soiled. She had just climbed through a sagging barbed wire fence and it snagged on her tiny ankle. The wound was red and gaping. She cried, but there was no comfort to be found.
I started digging through my backpack, looking for a bandage, a wipe.
It wasn’t enough. There wasn’t a wipe or bandage in the world that could fix what was wrong with this picture.
She lived in a rag-picking slum. Her home was an open, dirt floor, cloth shanty with a tin roof held in place by rocks.
She was a Dalit, a class of people once called untouchable — a class of people still treated as untouchable.
Many young girls, like this little one, are seen as a burden from birth. It’s hard to believe, but some are killed shortly after birth because they have “no value” to their family. They are viewed as a financial liability due to the dowry requirement for marriage.
Little girls like this typically don’t receive an education. They grow up caring for siblings or working from a tender age. This girl will sort through mountains of trash to find rags and plastic bottles. She is told this is her duty, and perhaps her next life might be better.
I’ve seen poverty. I’ve walked through slums before. I’ve held children while lice crept through their hair, and I’ve wept over hungry bellies.
Yet I’ve never experienced hopelessness that says, “You have no value. This is your lot in life. It’s the best you can expect.”
Untouchable. Uninvited. Worthless.
Her culture might tell her she’s untouchable, but Jesus reaches for her.
Her family might see her as uninvited, but her Heavenly Father sees her as created in His image.
Her status in society might say she’s worthless, but the Holy Spirit marks her as priceless.
She is not uninvited. She is not untouchable. She is not worthless.
This little girl is created in His image. Jesus’ own words tell us she’s treasured: “… you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31). The sparrows are unseen and unvalued by most. Yet God sees them, and He sees her.
I knelt that day, crouched between cow dung and sagging barbed wire and smiled at her, praying the heart of my words would somehow break the language barrier.
Look at me, child.
You are beautiful and wanted. I’m going to pray for you. I don’t know your name, but God does.
Look at me, child.
That’s our Heavenly Father calling to us, because sometimes when a problem seems SO big, He wants us to reach for Him because He’s greater.
He doesn’t want us to give up or throw up our hands in despair, but to hold them up in surrender, asking Him to show us our part to play.
We are not big enough to fix what’s wrong with a society that says a female child has little value, but we can pray.
We can’t put a bandage on every child’s wounds, but we can fall to our knees and cry out to God to heal their hearts.
We can’t go to every nation, but we can support ministries brave enough to offer education and hope in Jesus’ Name.
We can’t do it alone, but together we can reach across barriers and cultures and join hands to make a difference.
Dear God, I hear Your call to love others in Your name. I ask that You open my eyes to that child, that woman, who’s on Your heart. Let me play my part in inviting them into Your presence and love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
>1 Peter 1:18-19, “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” (NLT)
>Proverbs 14:31, “He who oppresses the poor taunts and insults his Maker, But he who is kind and merciful and gracious to the needy honors Him.” (AMP)
Click here to purchase Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely. All sales from the purchase of Uninvited will be used to help various Christian nonprofit organizations. One of the ministries we are so honored to help is Mission India, an organization that’s reaching women labeled as “Untouchables” and teaching them to read, using the Bible in their language.
On her blog, Suzie Eller shares the story of a believer and a rag picker making a difference in his community.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When a problem or issue feels impossible to solve, we might feel we have no voice. Yet one voice, combined with thousands of others, is heard. Not just by entities, but by those who feel they have no voice at all.
© 2016 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.
Originally published Wednesday, 14 September 2016.