I Have Engraved You On My Palm…
The last 3 days have been intense, to say the least. Visiting families in the ghetto, spending time with teenaged and young adult special needs orphans, doing activities with teen moms living in the state orphanage, and installing pilas (large, heavy concrete sinks) and a concrete floor in the homes in the slum areas surrounding the garbage dump; it is all very intense, very emotional, and honestly, a bit overwhelming. I will write more later on the garbage dump where we worked today. Yesterday, however, was spent inside the concrete & barbed wired walls surrounding what is not a prison, but instead the quite large orphanage run by the state. I have toured it in the past (which they do not currently let us do now) and I must say it is one of the most difficult things I have witnessed here.
It is overwhelming to absorb the stories of girls aged 12 and 13 who are 6 months pregnant. It is heart-breaking to see the ones who want no contact with young males from our group because they simply don’t trust men after the vicious abuses they have suffered at the hands of others. It is devastating to hear from the special needs orphans who weep while they express heart-felt gratitude for the simple act of bringing them a cake and sharing a little time hugging and talking to them. As we watched the teen moms painstakingly decorate their single cupcake with the bare fingers as decorating tools, I was in awe of their ability to take the little we had and turn one cupcake into a work of incredible art. Every sprinkle mattered. Every glob of brilliantly colored icing was moved again and again until the position was just right. The crazy thing is there did not seem to be any rhyme or reason to the placement of the icing and toppings and yet somehow, in the end, by the loving and patient hands of each young girl, what seemed like a chaotic mess turned into a small masterpiece.
And then it struck me, this is exactly what Christ does for us. We all have spots of brilliance, light and beauty but our lives are sometimes one giant, complicated mess. Yet Christ reaches in with patient and loving hands to direct each glob of goop, each band of crazy color, every single sprinkle into a brilliant masterpiece that only He could create. We start out as something that seems to be without form, without a future or a hope, and yet slowly become an incredible kaleidoscope of talents and treasures that actually amounts to something of great value and beauty.
Coming back to the sweet children of the lovely children’s home where we live while here, I was ordered to sit down by one precious young boy who proceeded to slide up right next to me. Sitting on the concrete underneath the brilliant Guatemalan sunlight, he whipped out a pen and began to write his name on the palm of my hand….Franco. How sweet and precious it was. I found myself constantly looking down at my hand for the rest of the day, looking at his sweet name written there, thinking of him and how precious and adorable he was. Then I had yet another sudden revelation. I remembered one of my favorite verses and tears filled my eyes.
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
If that sweet boy could write his name on my palm and it have that kind of an effect on me, I can only imagine what it means to have my name written on the palm of my Creator’s hand and how He must feel about me each time he sees my name written there. Not only my name, but alongside it are the names of all of those special needs orphans who just want to be hugged, and each of those teenaged moms living in an orphanage along with their beautiful children. We are all masterpieces, created by the hands of a God who has engraved our names on His palms. The barbed wire, the concrete walls, the guards and the label “orphan” cannot change that. The inscription is eternal. The love is immeasurable.