By Rick Isham
You gave hope to a hurting boy at Youth Haven!
This particular child was having a rough week. At one point, he became very distraught and we were having a hard time getting him to calm down and talk to us. All he kept saying was he wanted to see his mom. Over and over again that’s all he kept repeating. I finally told him we could go to the office and call her. His response told me all I needed to know about his behavior. He shouted back at me, “No we can’t… she’s dead! God took her.”
He looked at me with tear-filled eyes that begged for me to help take the pain away. It took me a moment to process. You see, I was once in his shoes. I looked him in the eyes and said, “I’m so sorry. I know what it’s like to lose someone you love.” I told him I had an older sister who died when I was 12. His eyes just peered back in shock as I shared. I gently touched him on the shoulder and again said, “I’m so sorry.” He leaned in for a hug and just cried on my shoulder for a moment.
We walked over to the office, talking as we went. I learned that he has been in foster care since his mom died 2 years ago, and he and his sister are about to be adopted. I could tell he was nervous about that.
After we got to the office, I opened my bag of Twizzlers and just wanted to spoil this boy to show him I was sincere. I also wanted to talk to him about his statement that God took his mom away. I explained that for years I was angry with God. I blamed God for my sister’s death and didn’t want anything to do with Him. I then shared some verses which changed the way I looked at death and pain.
I took out a new Trailbook (New Testament), which we give to each child. I turned to Revelation 21:3-4 and highlighted the verses: “…God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…”
I handed him the Bible and explained that death came into the world as a result of sin and man’s choices. But God made a way for us – through Jesus – to overcome death. I described heaven and explained the hope I have in Christ that one day I will see my sister again. I prayed with him, and he wrote a letter to his mom. I believe his hurting heart found hope, and healing began.
This is one of many tragic stories which could be told by the children of Youth Haven, each carrying hurt and pain from a world of sin.
You and I, we get the opportunity to truly give hope, an everlasting hope, to the boys and girls who attend Youth Haven. Thank you for the important part you have played. Please continue to pray for the children as well as the staff as we continue to be a light in the darkness to thousands of children!