There came that moment in the office when some tidying and cleaning became necessary. To be honest, I actually enjoy ordering things, filing and tidying things up. I find it very satisfying.
So, this day I had plenty of old files that simply needed to be thrown away. They were over 10 years old and it was just becoming a clutter in my filing cabinet. As I sorted through the files, I came to folder after folder of kid’s registration of a camp we run called ‘Southern cross kids camps”. These kids come from broken homes and are recommended to us by case workers in the government system. So much of the content of the forms is personal and private and therefore I needed to rip up (shred) each form to make sure that the details were unreadable. So that took time and as I was doing that I was seeing the names of the kids and started to remember the kids and wondered where they were and what are they doing now. Some names I remembered and could put a face to, but some were just a name to me. As I was ripping up their details on the paper into small strips, I actually started to feel sad. The bin was getting more and more packed, filled with ripped up paper, and I was struck by sadness.
Yes, I know this was a necessary job and it really was a functional thing I needed to do office-wise. But I was surprised how the ripping up of these children’s files and tearing up their names had such an effect on me. These children came to us damaged and broken and they often believed they were rubbish. Here I was, ripping their information up and throwing them in the bin.
In God's eyes these children mean so much more than simply being thrown into a bin to be discarded. And even though these forms were 10 years old and to me personally they were largely only a memory, if that, God still knows where they are today and is only interested in building them up and not tearing them down.
I found myself beginning to pray for them as I continued to rip up their forms, resting in the peace that even though to me they are now only a piece of ripped up paper, to God they are still His children, perfectly and wonderfully made, known and loved.
I continued to pray that wherever these kids are today - God knows and God loves them.
Romans 8:39 “Nothing can separate me from the love of God”
I continued to pray that whatever they are doing, they remember ‘Southern Cross Kids camps” where they learned that they are known and loved, that they are not rubbish, that He has not discarded them, they have not been forgotten, that He knows their name. His love has never changed.
You don’t have to have live long to think of all the people you have known and even loved over the years. The ones who were so close at one time in life and now you don’t even know where they are. In your world, they have been discarded. Maybe you feel like they discarded you, maybe deliberately, maybe not, maybe by necessity. Maybe it was not of your choosing, but life has simply moved on. It can all seem so pointless, so fragile, so momentary, so futile ... unless we truly are a small part of BIGGER story. A part of a story where the author always knows our name, where nothing is wasted and what we do here, although so fleeting, can have eternal value.
“Even before He made the world God loved you and chose you” (Ephesians 1:4)
I know I am part of that bigger story, and it gives me great comfort. I know that everyone has that choice and that those we have loved and known at some point, we may get to meet again. But mostly, even though they are just a name in a bin or a distant memory to me, to God they will always be Known and Loved.
To find out more about serving in an amazing ministry to children that are loved and known by Him see www.sckc.org.au