Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Thousand Words

I know that you’ve heard it said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I think it can be worth much more. Sometimes a picture can be so powerful, that it breaks your heart. My wife once told me that the thing that most breaks your heart is where God is telling you to go. When I saw this picture of these orphans in Ukraine, I knew exactly what she meant. I knew through my broken heart that God has prepared a place for us in Ukraine.

A thousand words can’t even come close to describing what this picture captured. I could look at it a thousand times and see something new each time. The first thing that struck me was the longing and searching in the eyes of these children. You can detect a glimmer of hope as well, but it is fading with each passing day. The concept of a family and a home is foreign to them. To most, any other life would be a fairy tale. They are society's cast offs.

These children are the product of a machine called an orphanage. I say machine because a machine can’t love. The machine feeds them, clothes them, and shelters them, but it is critically lacking in love. I’m sure there are people who do their best to show these children love, but they can never be more than just the workers who keep the machine running. The eyes of the children are filled with desperation for something more than the life they live within the walls of the factory.

If you look closely, you can see the layers of clothing that cover their frail bodies. Even inside, they are cold. Imagine being a child and never being able to shop for your clothes. Instead, you gladly take what is given because you have never known any differently. I see in the picture that these children aren’t worried about how their clothes look, but only how well their clothes will keep them warm.

As these children get older, they see their chance for adoption pass them by. In its place is the growing anxiety and dread of the day when the machine will spit them out onto the streets. For most, that day will come when they have reached the age of fifteen. Statistics on orphans during this time of their lives have shown an estimated 70% of the boys end up in crime, 60% of girls in prostitution, and 10-30% commit suicide.

When I look at this picture I see wasted treasure. I see the jewels of our future cast into a sea of rejection and loneliness. I see the urgent need for the restoration of Hope. What do you see?

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