You could see it in his eyes. At first glance it might have been mistaken it for anger, but when you lingered a moment longer your gut told you that you were looking into the eyes of a wounded soul. My husband, Phil saw it immediately after he took the picture. I had asked him to come to school on the first day to take photographs of all my new second graders and when I came home that evening he asked me about the boy with the hurting eyes.
I wish that all of the children who entered through the doors of my classroom arrived well rested, well fed and well-loved. Unfortunately we live in an age where poverty and toxic family dynamics take an enormous toll on the vulnerable and the young. Without a word being spoken, that little boy’s eyes told me that he had already learned that the world was a place where promises were broken and disappointment was the norm.
About a week after I had hung the kids’ pictures in the hallway a colleague came to me to ask about that particular student. She’d had him in kindergarten and was so upset to see his expression. She’d had hopes that things had improved in his life since she had been his teacher, but was discouraged to see his unchanged appearance.
“What can we do about kids like that?” she cried. “It breaks my heart.” I agreed with her, but reassured her that God had placed him into my room for a reason and that He knew what was happening to him.
“Does he really, Anne?” she said angrily. “Does God really know?” I could identify with her. There have been times when I have looked at the desperate situations that the children in my classroom live in and have thought to myself, how can this be, Lord? But the truth of the matter is that we live in a broken world where sin ravages our relationships and our lives. Still, God does not stand far off looking down in disinterest, but intimately knows our troubles and longs for us to find solace in Him. Jesus tells us to “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden I will give you rest.”
I told my colleague that afternoon that God did know what was happening. God was aware of that child’s every falling tear and that He put people like her and people like me into the lives of those children to be His hands and feet to make a difference. I assured her that on my watch, that little one would know that he was loved, valued and a person of worth. I would not do it on my own, but only through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus, don’t ever let an opportunity go by that I fail to be your ambassador to the children in my charge. Be the watermark on my life so that they see You through me. Enable me to do the things that You have set before me this day to help another child know that he is loved.