(Homeless man in Anchorage, Alaska. Photo by Andrew Brown - Wikimedia Commons)
His grandma didn't want him. At fourteen, he ate her out of house and home. He took food from the cupboards without asking. So, she abandoned him. Turned him out. He ended up in a homeless shelter. All alone. Without God and without hope in the world. Because of strict regulations about who qualifies for housing, the shelter could only keep him for two weeks.
As the two week mark approached, the shelter called Children's Services repeatedly. "You need to take him," the counselors implored. "He's a sweet boy." Children's Services wouldn't come. And they wouldn't come. They just wouldn't come.
Not even Children's Services wanted him.
Finally, word got up to the top of the ladder of Children's Services; they came to pick him up. He was placed in a foster home. That night, the father of the home had a cardiac arrest. They couldn't keep him. Children's Services came again. This time they acted swiftly in order to put him in another home.
I hope it's a good one.
I hope it's a home where there is some semblance of love and goodness and safety and routine. A home where he won't know the utter despair of being unwanted. Of being despicably worthless in the eyes of those closest to him.
I don't know this boy. I only heard his story, a true story, and sobbed and sobbed. Sobbed my guts out for the millionth time this summer. What can I do? I so desperately want to do something. My insides constrict. They choke up as I write these sentences. Tears spill onto my face. The travesty of it all. The hell of it all. I hold my daughters. They know my love. This is what I want for this boy and all the children and people like him.
I don't know his name; that's confidential. But he has lodged himself in my heart. I pray for him. I beg God to make himself known to him, since God is not too far away from anyone of us (Acts 17: 26, 27). I beg God to take care of him and show him that he is a deeply loved child of God, that he is the apple of God's eye.
I pray he won't believe the lie his circumstances are telling him.
Oh Lord, allow someone to speak and show the love of God to him! Please, God.
I will pray for him throughout my life as I think of him. This one thing I can do.
There are children and people all around us going through hell. People being abused in every conceivable way. People craving the love of God. People craving hope. Why don't we start praying for these invisible ones? Asking God that the invisible ones would be made visible to those seeking to overcome evil with good? Why don't we start asking God to open our eyes so they'll be found by God through us. So that they'll find God through us?
Think of how we can usher fourth Kingdom goodness and light all around us. We can unleash the love and power of God through prayerful action.
This is something I believe to be true: we don't know the eternal implications of our obedience and prayers. I know we don't serve God or pray for others in vain. It's not in vain. It's not in vain, even if right now we see no fruit from our toils.
God is making all things new in and through us. I have hope. Hope for goodness in the lives of those abused and oppressed and forgotten. Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).
God be with him. God be with you if you feel all alone, without God and without hope in the world. We'll hope and pray for you, when you cannot do so yourself.