Sunday, July 6, 2014

Haunted by Lifeless Eyes

Peter Shurley is an Australian singer, songwriter and violinist. He presented a great concert at our church recently and sang a song called: Indian Girl. This came about through a visit to India on behalf of Compassion International, a Child Sponsorship Christian ministry. This young girl had just started school and was sitting in the front row when Peter began singing to the class. Her big eyes and apparent need stole his heart. He sponsored her. That was many years ago. Peter showed a photo of her at her University graduation. Wonderful

That song brought back vivid pictures to my mind of a visit to an African slum. We were on a short term mission trip and went to this slum area. There, sitting in a narrow lane, was this small child of indeterminate age. I know not her name. She said not a word. Beneath unwashed grime and dishevelled hair was a stained prettiness. It was however the eyes that captured me. They were lifeless. No sparkle, no tears or interest in who the strangers were, simply blankness. They shattered my heart and mind with sorrow and began to haunt me. These years since, they still haunt me.

Did she ever find someone to sponsor her and give her hope and dignity? Did this un-named slum girl simply waste away to be received by Christ Jesus in His Heavenly home?

The Christian Church has been rocked by revelations of child abuse by certain perverted persons in responsible positions. The bible is very clear about their condemnation and punishment by the Judge of the universe. The Scriptures are filled with warnings about violating the vulnerable and the young. It has an eternal sentence written in God’s statutes.

Fortunately there is another aspect to the Christian Church’s involvement with Children. It reveals the faithful care, protection, support and equipping of young lives through to adulthood. The difference is seen in many and varied ways. Perhaps most vividly for me is the contrast between the Indian girl who was sponsored and the African girl. I’ve also seen the difference it makes through the support given to such children in distant countries by my adult children (and others). One of the privileges in showing the heart of Christ within us to
children or adults is to see or hear they also put their trust in Him.

The eyes of the slum girl haunted me and still do. They also motivated me and others to reach out to care and share what we could to those similar to her. The following poem was stirred in me by the combination of Peter Shurley’s song and those eyes which haunt me still

I Cried Then and I Cry Still
We met in a Kenyan slum
In a lane with little sun
How old
I couldn’t tell.
My language she knew not
Hers, was unuttered
Yet I was shattered
By this African girl
Without a hope of happiness.
My heart ached for her sadness
I cried then
I cry still

Oh to have hugged her there
Told her someone cared
But all I felt
In my helplessness
A strange numbness
Yet prayed,
“Lord embrace her today.”
I cried then
I cry still.

Time have passed by since then
And still I remember when
We met in the Kenyan slum
In shadows cast by the sun.
But her face still appears
Unchanged by the years
Silent, sad and unmoving.
I cried then
And I cry still.

For children such as her
Deliver from despair
Through servants who share
Your tears of compassion
Your heart for redemption.
Then will we know
Tears cried then
Not in vain.

Ray Hawkins July 5 2014

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