For several years I was lead short term mission teams to areas surrounding Monterrey, Mexico. During most of our trips we stopped by a particular orphanage run by several Catholic Nuns. The children living there were kids that society and families either didn’t want, had abandoned, or just could not care for. Some were blind, mute, others deformed, and some looked like their bodied were tied in knots.
It was my third visit to this orphanage that effected me the most. As our team was visiting with the kids, I was playing a few songs on my guitar for the those I was with. Sadly, I only know a few songs off by heart and I was quickly running out. Not that it really mattered as I only knew one song in Spanish. After, going through my whole repertoire of three songs, all I had left was a three chord song I know from church called, ‘I Believe in Jesus’. The words of the song go like this;
I believe in Jesus, I believe He is the Son of God, I believe He died and rose again, I believe He came for us all, And I believe He is near now, Standing in our midst, Here with the power to heal now, And the grace to forgive.
I am sitting there playing the song, not really thinking about it, until I get to the last lines. ‘Here with the power to heal now’. I began to look around and there are kids laying in beds who were there a year earlier. Then the year before that. They hadn’t moved or left unless someone moved them. Truthfully, they would likely never get out of those beds.
This song seemed so relevant and powerful while I was in my church and in different services. However, here in the midst of many people’s personal hell it didn’t seem to have the same effect. I was having one of those moments wondering, ‘God, where are you when life looks like this?’ It is in this place, surrounded by suffering that many have the same question. Some conclude He must not be there at all if suffering exists.
However, this day I saw something I had never seen before. As I kept playing, but not singing, I opened my eyes to what was happening around me. There were several young people holding different children and comforting them. There was another wiping snot of the face of one while trying to communicate in a different language. Someone else was simply sitting beside a bed holding the hand of one of the residents.
I kept looking and saw one of the nuns who worked with these kids every day. They were never going to get anything in return from them. They just gave. All over the room hands were at work.
In the midst of my questions I began to see where God was. Today these young people were the answer to someone’s prayer of, ‘God where are you today?’ God was in the love and care being given through these hands. As I watched our team of youth, who I was so proud of, it was a real and living picture of what the hands of God looked like.
He was there indeed.