‘And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…”
One week ago I was sitting on the cement courtyard of Marie’s Home for Special Needs Children in Delmas Haiti. We had come as a team of Cause 4 Life interns to spend the day with the children there.
I was holding little Naika on my lap, singing along to the worship music coming from the little speaker she clasped tight in her hands. She would have sat there all morning, feeling the vibrations although blindness keeps her from seeing her surroundings…and listening to the words even though they are in English and she can’t understand most of them. But I know she understands the language of Love…so I hold her tight. And as we sing ‘Oh I run into your arms, I run into your arms, the riches of Your love, will always be enough , nothing compares to Your embrace, Light of the world forever reign’ …I get a sense that God is holding both of us.
That somehow His arms are holding each of these orphans…many of them spending their days lying on the floor in the darkened room, living in a world with so few resources, and such a lack of supports and therapy. That somehow as they lie on that dark linoleum floor, muscles tight and cramped….or spend hours looking out of the barred courtyard into the street…the only outside world they experience in a day…that somehow He is cradling them close to His heart.
These children are without families of their own to love and care for them, living in a country where there is a struggle for daily nutrition, where the children with disabilities are the last to get fed and cared for. Their past is filled with neglect and rejection, their present is fragile, and their future so uncertain. And we struggle to make sense of it all. And yet in that moment I get a sense that the Love that I feel for this little girl is a picture of my Father’s love for me.
Just as I hold Naika close, He has held me when my heart is breaking, when the darkness closes in, obscuring the light. Although I can’t change Naika’s world, the darkness she lives in, or the uncertainty of her future… I can love her in this moment. And she relaxes in my lap, humming along, appearing not to have a care in the world. And I am reminded that just as God in His infinite wisdom does not always ‘fix’ my world….although I know He could…yet He holds me tight, close to His heart, reminding me how much I am loved.
My world may not change…the pain might remain…and the darkness might not instantly vanish. Yet He whispers to my heart a promise from Isaiah 41:13 “I will hold your right hand saying ‘Fear not, I will help you’.” And I can relax into those arms, ever strong, ever in control of the storms of life, knowing they will not let go.
“If your eyes are on the storm, you wonder if I love you still, if your eyes are on the cross you know I always have and I always will.” (Casting Crowns – ‘Just Be Held’)
Almost five months have passed since I wrote this…and I sit, in the quiet of my home beside the twinkling lights of a fir tree . Comfort, warmth, love. Beauty. Things I want to share…to spill over into Naika’s world, into the lives of those who have so little. For now, I’m going in my heart with the team who is doing just that, flying to Haiti and bringing Christmas to Marie’s Home. I am so grateful they are going.
And tonight, on Christmas Eve, I am reminded that those strong arms…ever in control… once reached up in helpless dependancy to a young mother living on the brink of poverty. No where to lay her baby’s head but a feeding trough.
That those strong arms once reached out to heal blind eyes, bless children, bring life to diseased limbs…entering into the depth of human suffering and pain.
That they were once stretched out in love on a cross, helpless against the undeserved accusations…disabled….and yet even in the weakest moment, triumphing over sin and death. Bringing Hope and Life to any heart that will receive that Love offered.
As I look back on that hot day 5 months ago in Delmas Haiti, I am thankful that God showed me another glimpse of His love through eyes that cannot see…and a little girl with a bubbly laugh named Naika. And I am reminded of a quote I read recently…
“He has chosen not to heal me,
But to hold me,
The more intense the pain,
The closer the embrace”
Joni Eareckson Tada