As believers, we’re called to bring the peace of Christ to a broken world. That often means being with people in times of great distress and pain. We fumble for the right words to say, the right help to offer. Many times there are no easy answers.
He looked back at us with tears rolling down his bruised cheeks and recounted the story of his trip. He was beaten, robbed, went hungry for days at a time and squished into the back of a hot semi truck for hours. And in the end, he was caught trying to cross the border into the U.S. and sent home with nothing. He halfheartedly laughed and told us that at least he got to experience his first airplane ride.
This evening we met with our friend and former student, Milton, to celebrate his 19th birthday. Having just arrived home yesterday to a distraught mother who had been escorted to the morgue to search for his body multiple times during his three-week absence, his smile was weak and tired. They are desperate and they are hungry. And I sat there in the booth at Pizza Hut with my ridiculously cheerful birthday cake and my heart broke into a million pieces. This is not a story I read in a book or on saw on TV. This is my friend—a sweet boy whose faith in God is young, but strong.
I know we’re missionaries now and we’re supposed to know how to respond to this kind of crisis. But the truth is, we are always unprepared to meet the needs of this world. So we did what we know. We took his hand and in broken, incoherent Spanish we prayed. Then we took Milton to the grocery store, bought him a few groceries and drove him home. And then I cried.
The poor and the needy search for water, but there is none; tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. -Isaiah 41:17