As I watched throughout this summer children of different ages, races and religions joyfully interact together both on the playing field and during spiritual discussions, I was reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 9:14 and the responsibility we have to truthfully share with each tender heart that the God of the universe loves them and cares deeply about every aspect of their circumstances: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”.
This past month alone, the Baptist Children and Youth Ministry at LSESD has had the opportunity to share, in words and deeds, the love of Christ with Lebanese children from non-Christian backgrounds, and Syrian refugee children - whom in many cases do not know what the fate of their parent/s is in Syria. Last week for example, 2 young girls received the news that their father had just been killed in Syria while they were attending BCYM’s summer camp, a matter which led us to plead with God to see the Kingdom of Heaven come and alleviate the depth of this earthly pain. Then the words of the prayer “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven” came back to mind. How can we see your Kingdom oh God manifest today? These are your children whom you called upon for “heaven belongs to such as these”.
Our broken and sinful nature does not allow us to make sense and comprehend the despair and tragedy that some children are facing in this part of the world. However, through the Lord’s prayer I was reminded that God is in control and that He offers to be the Father to the fatherless and the defender of the weak.
By God’s grace, the camps are bringing happiness to the children while offering them Hope: God has not forsaken them; He loves them.
This has had a great impact on both the child and parent alike. We heard from a parent this month that "the care and attention given to our family came as a surprise to us. We thought that sending our children to the camps would be great for them and would give us a chance to rest for a few days; however, we never thought that you would come visit us and spend time with us, trying to get to know more about us. This made us feel cared for, a feeling we have not experienced in some time”.
Even when we ourselves grow weak and have only the strength to cling to a faith as small as a mustard seed, the Holy Spirit shows us glimpses of Heaven on Earth where He is building His Kingdom from the ashes of war, sickness and destruction. May we never grow weary and stop recognizing these small whispers of Heaven.
On behalf of the Baptist Children and Youth Ministry, thank you for your continued prayers that strengthen us daily.