There he stood by the tree. A little boy in his swim trunks, ready and waiting for the short time he could spend in the pool that day. After all, he only had one opportunity each day to swim and this was definitely something that could not be missed. We were at Royal Family Kid’s Camp – a week-long summer camp for abused kids.
Then he looked up and seemingly out of the blue, he yelled a cuss word at me.
“Huh?” I hesitantly replied, uncertain of what else I should say.
Instead of just moving on and forgetting about it like I had hoped he would do, he repeated himself.
A shrug of my shoulders and a smile was the only way I thought how to respond when he shouted out the foul language for the second time. And perhaps that was the best way to react because that little boy stared at me in unbelief. He stood still, eyes glued to me – shocked and confused that the word he yelled at me would cause such a calm response. Unsure of what to do, he stayed motionless for what seemed like several minutes. I imagine many thoughts of bewilderment were running through his mind in those moments. Many thoughts were also racing through mine as I was not confident in how to handle this situation. But then after those few quiet moments passed, without saying another word, he turned and walked away.
I wonder how many times he has said that very same word to an abusive mother who only beat him harder in return or to his deadbeat father who left to never see him again. Though I do not know the details of what this little boy’s past was truly like, I would venture to assume it includes painful experiences I do not even want to imagine and was void of the true love of Christ every human being so desperately needs.
Maybe – just maybe – the way God prompted me to react to his swearing was a testimony to him of Jesus’ unconditional, unfailing love. It is possible that God used this in his life to show him that God forgives him, loves him, and can make his life new again in Christ. Even though I was not able to see the outcome of this interaction with the boy, I can trust that God can turn him to Jesus.
So that’s why we go – to be vessels through which God can pour forth His love on these precious children. It will be hard – I have no doubt – to love them through the frustrating moments during the week only to watch them walk on the bus and wave goodbye. Yet, it will be so very good because we have the beautiful opportunity to be Jesus’ hands and feet to these hurting, broken foster kids He loves so dearly. As we take this week to spend time with these kids, I am confident that God will give us a taste of His heart and use this week to not only change the kids’ hearts, but also ours.