I looked up to see my case worker friend moving my direction.
“Did you see it?” she repeated. Her neck disappeared into her shoulders, and her voice cracked with the emotion of the situation.
I nodded. I had seen it. The latest story of horrific tragedy – a child death at the hands of a parent. A situation so difficult for most of us to ingest that we find ourselves changing the channel so we won’t have to watch. Or turning the newspaper page. Or, if we can manage to sit through the gruesome story, the story of a broken family living in a broken world, we become distressed. Angry. We want revenge. We want to blame someone – it must be someone’s fault. The parent obviously committed the unspeakable, but SOMEONE should have been around to help them. SOMEONE should have known this child was in danger. SOMEONE should have done something. And now SOMEONE should pay for this. Should be put on a media trial so we all scream “CRUCIFY” and then sit back in our recliners and feel better.
I agree. Someone should have known. Someone should have done something. Someone is guilty. Someone is to blame.
We are to blame. The neighbors of families who are struggling but who don’t bother to offer assistance. The occupants of homes with a spare bedroom who would rather use that space for a treadmill than take in a foster kid. The members of churches who show up for an hour on Sunday so that we can feel righteous but cross over to the other side of the road so we won’t have to interact with the broken and bloody of our communities. We are to blame. So what do we do now?
We need to pray – to spend time on our faces in front of a Holy God who loves foster kids and wants us to love them too. We need to fast – to intentionally go without so that we can focus on what role each of us is called to play. And we need to act – to step into the battle for the future of these kids. When we do, maybe the next news story we see will be about how the shelter is empty or how a dad got off drugs and got his kids back or how there are no kids waiting to be adopted. Maybe then I’ll watch the news again…
“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.” Jeremiah 29: 12-13 (MSG)