“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” ~ Mother Teresa
I watched her, alone, as others had parades of relatives visiting, colorful balloons and get well wishes as they faced one of life’s scariest moments for a child. Nurses fawned over the other kids, littler, cuter, more worthy in their minds of the extra attention they engendered. Yet, she was treated like she was burdensome, not supposed to be there, annoying. No one from the church or school visited or initiated contact to see how she was doing. She sat there in the hospital alone, only to be discharged to the same isolation afterwards at home.
Her sin? Being on the autism spectrum, having sensory processing issues and social deficits. Because she’s been treated like a “bad kid” by administrators at school who don’t understand her, she doesn’t garner the same warm kindness that is meted out to other students in her class who are hospitalized. Her family sits solitary, treated like bad parents by those making wild, inaccurate assumptions. It’s one of life’s crueler realities in a society banging the drum of “tolerance”.
How do I know about this little girl? She’s my 11 year old daughter.
When God brings our family through yet another trial, I always watch for what He is trying to teach or reveal to me in the storm. With our daughter’s most recent hospitalization, the Lord exposed to me all of the precious little ones like her who are never loved on, never supported by the world around them. It broke my heart, not just for my own child, but for the thousands of children like her in this nation.
While many, MANY people were generous to us with their prayer support (no small thing in my estimate), I couldn’t help but think of how this sentiment would be received by a non-believer. If there was 1 kind act for every 100 promises of prayer, that would be a lot. The Book of James, Chapter 2 talks extensively about acts of kindness being true evidence of a Christian’s faith. In verses 15-17 James pens, “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” When measured against that Word, most Christians would sadly disqualify themselves as true believers. Busy-ness is usually our excuse. Yet, we seem to forget the old adage that “Many hands make light work.” While churches are terrific at preaching, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”, practicing that level of faith may be quite another thing.
It begs the question, What are churches doing to connect and communicate with hospital chaplains? How is the Body of Christ supporting those families who are treated like their child is unworthy of love, life or attention? Children on that Autism Spectrum or behaviorally thought of as “oddballs” by the culture? How does all of this square with the Gospel?
In the ministry I have the privilege of leading, we have a core focus of compassion. But we are just one. It’s a “feel good” photo opportunity for us to have VBS, camps and parties for kids with special needs. Even secular groups like to get good press doing that. But what about loving the least of God’s children, affirming life under the radar in situations where no on else shows up? Rolling up our sleeves and getting dirty in the places others consider ugly? THIS is where Christ calls His church to serve. And if we’re not going there, we’re no difference than the godless world we are attempting to evangelize.
What is your ministry doing to reach families in crises like the one described above? We would love to hear…
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