Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Mid-Week Message - Hope For the Desperate

"What is the price of five sparrows - two copper coins?  Yet God does not forget a single one of them.  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows."  Luke 12:6-7 (NLT)  

When my daughter was in the seventh grade, she became the target of a group of girls who had decided they needed someone to look down upon.  The bullying continued for some time, becoming worse when one of her close friends became one of the bullies.  After Christmas break, as we arrived at the school that morning, she said the words that made me take notice of how desperate she felt.  She said, "I would rather die than go to school."  Sadly, it took this admission before I realized how deeply she was being wounded.  And even more distressing was the fact that this was a Christian school where I thought she would be safe. 

According to an article in the Washington Post from October of this past year, "from 2007 to 2017, the number of suicides among people ages 10-24 suddenly increased 56%."  Why?  If you research it you will find bullying and cyberbullying listed as one of the main catalysts.  One of the articles I read told the story of an eight year old boy who was being bullied at school.  The pain that he was in led to him hanging himself with a belt from the top bunk of the bunk beds in his room. 

Did you experience bullying?  I did.  I can remember coming home in tears because I felt that there was no place where I could be accepted.  I endured such things as being stuck by pins as I walked through the school hallway, being openly laughed at, having cigarette ashes flicked into my eyes, and being called "King Kong" or "Ellie Phant" on the school bus.   As horrible as all that was for me, the internet had not been invented so the torture stopped when I arrived home.  Children today don't get that reprieve.  Social media has created new pathways for bullies to attack 24 hours a day.  I can't imagine having to endure that.  

The Bible teaches us how valuable we are to our Creator.  Today's verse reminds us that He even cares for the tiny sparrows and we are worth far more to Him than the sparrows.  Psalm 139 tells us how intimately the Lord has been involved in our lives from even before we were conceived.  John tells us He gave His only Son because He loves us so much and desires for us to be with Him forever.  

Suicide is the choice of many who do not understand how loved and valuable they truly are.  What can we do about that?  We have to make a start by loving those around us.  Our children need to be taught about Jesus and the sacrifice He made.  I'm not talking about religion.  I'm talking about a personal relationship, and the best way for them to learn is to have it modeled by the adults in their lives.  Personally, we need to check our own relationship with the Savior.  Do we live what we say we believe?  Do we walk as though He was our constant companion?  Do our words and actions toward others reflect the love and compassion we are trying to teach the young people to have?  

I don't pretend to have the answer to the problems of the world.  But, I know Who does.  And I know that if we turn to Him, if we live our lives in such a manner that others are drawn to Him, He will show us the way.  There is no situation that is too difficult for God, but we need to be faithful and consistent in living for Him so that He can be seen in us by others.  Maybe, just maybe, someone desperate can find hope and peace beside us at the foot of the cross.  God bless.

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