The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
~ Lamentations 3:22-23
This morning I woke up thinking about a girl I met on the streets of Houston years ago named "Broken." This, of course, was not her birth name given to her by parents. It was a name she had chosen for herself.
When I asked, "Why Broken," she then told me about growing up as a foster child after her mother was arrested for drugs and her father just, "left one day and never came home."
She was seven years old when she entered, "The system," as she casually called it. She would spend the next six years in four different foster homes. "Each one was different, but the same," she would share.
"There were always broken toys in the home that I played with. When I was thirteen my foster father sexually 'hurt me,' and I ran away. They made me go back three times, until they just quit looking for me."
"About a year ago I ended up here and I looked in the mirror one morning when I was at a hotel with some guy, and what I saw in the mirror reminded me of the broken dolls I played with growing up. 'Broken,' is what I saw. So that's my name."
There were many things I felt as this 16-year-old girl told me of her story. Over the next six years as I walked the same blocks as the pastor of a church in the area, I would listen to the stories of those I met, and how they came to living on the street. Many of them still haunt me today, especially when I think back and remember how many of them disappeared into the shadows of night, and just never appeared again.
I have never felt so helpless in my life. Where the least of these had to be stepped over on sidewalks when they were exhausted, tired, and broken by what they had experienced in the world. Telling them that, "God still loved them, and that God knew their pain," was not always enough.
It was the raw reminder that sometimes in this world, we as instruments of Christ, must hear and react to stories that we either have no idea about because of our own lack of experiences, or because we don't understand how one human being could treat another human being in this manner.
The day that Cain took upon himself to murder his brother, God asked, "Where is your brother," knowing full-well that he was dead. God wanted to hear the words, "He is dead."
In our world we fill our life with violence as popular crime shows create story lines filled with such haneous events, that somehow they have been woven into the tapestry of our society.
Our ability to see that God is being faithful has been preempted by the "following special report."
Our need to be reminded that "Great is God's faithfulness," was even a struggle for the writer of Lamantations.
We need to hear these words above all others, and to believe them to be true, even as we drown them out by what the world is shouting at us.
In all honesty, we all know something about being "Broken." Broken relationships. Broken dreams. Broken hopes.
A series of unfortunate events can lead us to places we never have dreamed of being, but then there are these words, "Great is God's faithfulness!"
We then open our eyes and realize that it is the broken and pierced hands of Christ that hold us and recognize that it is the brokenness of God that is faithful to us now.
Not only is God faithful, but God also understands when we are broken.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.