A Child Is Saved
James, the half-brother of Jesus, described acceptable religion as this:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27).
This verse has always impressed me. It puts the quality of our Christian life into focus. It presents two litmus tests: are we adopting the worldview of unbelievers and society around us, and are we caring for those who cannot give back to us? The longer I live, the more I want to abandon myself to this kind of living!
Many nations abound with desperate widows and abandoned children. But India is off the scale in this department! Recently I read about a city in northern India that is becoming known as the city of widows. Widows from all over the country who are abandoned by their families travel to this town in a desperate attempt to find shelter. In the old days, the Hindu religion dealt with widows in a straight-forward fashion….they were to prove their love for their newly-deceased husband by “voluntarily” lying beside him as his body was cremated! Imagine such a horrible, painful end of life, burning to death beside this dead man who used to be your husband. Now this practice is officially outlawed, but the culture does not embrace these elderly women. They are thrown out on the streets or forced to work as slaves.
Many refer to India as the Child Slavery Capital of the World. And child marriage is rampant. The masses in poverty see these practices as their only hope of economic relief. Recently we received an email from Mammen, the Founder and Director of Peniel Gospel Team, our new partners in distant northeast India. What a great story of redemption this email contained. May I share it with you?
As we were coming back from Bhutan border from the VBS we have gotten one more child for our children home. The child’s name is Sneha. Sneha was studying and going to school and suddenly she lost her father who was a teacher. She has two younger sisters and one younger brother. Her mother is not in a position to send Sneha to the school which she was attending where her father was the teacher. The child was bought to me by an evangelist who is working in their village and requested me to take this child into our home. This child being the eldest in the home otherwise would have to start working, as she will not be able to continue her education. At the present time the mother is not in the position to help any child as she has to work and to support her other children also. Being 10 years old there are many chances that this child may be mistreated or taken in slavery. Please be praying for Sneha.
My dear friend, have you understood what transpired in that little village in India? A father died. The mother, being in abject poverty, could not feed her 4 children. Her only option was to gain economic advantage from her oldest child, a daughter only 10 years old. Sneha’s future?
1) Work 14-16 hour days as a day-laborer.
2) Be sold into marriage, forced to move to another place in subjection to her in-laws.
3) Be sold into slavery, hauled away to a brick factory, or garment factory, or worse.
But our precious Lord saw this little girl! Praise His holy Name! He looked from highest Heaven and saw this little child! “Let the children come to me,” Jesus said. Children are precious to Him. And He delights to redeem them for His own Name’s sake!
In the loving providence of our Lord, He sent an evangelist to this little village, the evangelist learned of the situation, the evangelist loved the little girl and felt pity for the mother, and the little girl Sneha was redeemed from a torturous life and taken to a home filled with love, with protection, with food and clothing…and with the Gospel.
But that is not the end of the story. Who others are part of this story? Who sponsored the evangelist so that he could go to the village?
Who will bear the financial burden for Sneha? Who will pay for her food, her clothes, her school fees? Each child in the home requires only $35/month for all expenses.
Such a small amount can make such a big difference!
A family’s lunch at McDonalds…a couple’s evening at a Mexican restaurant…the price of a sporting ticket…a new dress or pair of tennis shoes.
Who will God send to Peniel Gospel Team to share the financial burden for Sneha’s redemption? (If God is speaking to you on this matter, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
So my dear friend, rejoice with me over the saving of this one little girl. Lift high the praises due to Him to sees and redeems. And work out your own salvation in “acceptable” religion by caring for those who cannot care for themselves, who cannot give anything back to you.
April 30, 2013