The four year old sky blue eyes were filled with fear as I looked down upon this angelic face. Two fingers from each hand were stuffed in the mouth, as the child worked at self-comfort.
I struggled to keep my voice low and comforting… not to seem scary… for my desk not to look so big. I struggled to let this child simply trust me and calm down, as I picked up the picture.
The little one had drawn a picture that morning… simple crayon scrawl… a big figure “Daddy”… a little figure “child”… two cats… a simple preschooler’s illustration. But then, there was the blood.
And I spoke in soothing tones to this cherub, urging trust as I looked at this cartoon that was far too clear and telling. Showing what I’d never wanted to see… what NONE of us would ever want to see.
Mustering up some courage, the child yielded to my request, describing the picture. In the sibilant tones of a four-year-old’s soft palette, I heard words I’d never wanted to hear… that NONE of us would ever want to hear:
“Daddy touched me…” [the child pointed where]… “and it hurt!”
And the child began to cry…
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It was a very tough ending to a wearying day at a new job that normally I love. But the right calls were made, the right steps taken, and then all there was left was the car and the ride home.
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Ill… Sick… Weary beyond words… all that, I felt as I pulled into the garage. Ever been there, Gentle Reader? Sick in heart, in mind, and even body all at the same time?
All had been done that could be done. Nothing I could do could protect this child any further. All I could do now, was pray! And, despite the Lord’s assurances that it was my most powerful capacity on this child’s behalf… it did not feel like nearly enough.
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At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! (Matthew 18:1-7 NASB)
And all I could focus on… all I could hear ringing in my spiritual ears was that word… “Inevitable”… “Inevitable”… “Inevitable”. That stumbling blocks were inevitable… but that those who cast them up would be better to drown.
How can darkness be this black?
How can any child recover from betrayal like this?
But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. (Luke 23:34 NASB)
O My Dear Sweet and Blessed Lord… I beg Thee… grow my heart enough like Yours to forgive with such ease and faithfulness. Show me the grace here! For on days like this… at moments like this… forgiveness is unreachably far from my heart! Amen.
Pray for me, Gentle Reader. So yet a work in progress!