As I pulled up to my house tonight, I saw one of my kids walking down the street in the pouring down rain, he walked right past me nearly plowed me over and didn’t acknowledge me when I said hello, my heart broke into a million tiny pieces. You see less than a year ago this boy would make a beeline to my house on Fridays when he came home from school to play basketball, tell me about his week at school or just hang out. I don’t know if he knows that I know what I know, but the things I know break my heart. I know that he’s home permanently now because he’s been in trouble, I know that he’s lucky he’s not in jail right now because a few months ago he robbed someone at gunpoint, I know that he’s been hanging with the “big boys” and doing things he shouldn’t and he’s becoming someone he’s not.
What breaks my heart even more is that he’s 13 years old, he doesn’t have a mom or a dad in the picture, he doesn’t attend school right now, and he has a high risk of becoming just another number in Baltimore City, just another boy who gets lost to the streets, just another kid that people turn their eyes away from as they walk past. But in my heart this boy is so much more than that, he’s a boy that deserves to be loved, he deserves to be chased after and brought back, he’s a boy that at 13 years old deserves a chance at life and needs to know that someone believes in him.
As I climbed into bed I began to think about all of my other boys, and the conversations I’ve had with them recently, some of them actually believe that there is no hope for them, that they will become just another statistic and I couldn’t sleep. In fact I vividly recalled a conversation I had a few weeks ago when I had a few boys over to do fun Christmas things, we were talking about life and going to college and leaving home one of them said to me, “I am probably just going to have to buy a house on Glover and sell drugs like my brothers,” the sad part is these kids believe that’s all there is for them.
I know that God has put me here to be an influence in these kids lives, to help them see there is something better for them beginning with Jesus, to help them see their potential and to let them know that someone (many someone’s) believe in them, but on nights like tonight when I almost get plowed over by a 13 year old boy that used to run to me and my heart breaks and becomes so burdened, I wonder what can we do differently? I wonder how to pray for him, I wonder where he’s going in the pouring down rain at 10:30 at night? I want to chase after him and remind him that I love him, that Jesus loves him more than anyone else in the world, that there is something better for him, but instead I come into my house, make a cup of hot cocoa and sit in my prayer room in tears,listening to the calming rain, praying for him, begging God to intervene in his world in some way that he’ll come running back to games of H-O-R-S-E in my backyard, he’ll be banging on my window asking for a snack or rushing to tell me about his day, that he’ll return to school, that he’ll respect his grandma again, that he’ll let me hug him and remind him that I believe in him and that’s he’s just another statistic.
Will you join me in praying for A and the other kids in my neighborhood who are stuck believing that there is nothing more for them? That they would find Jesus and in finding Jesus would find Hope and in that Hope they’ll find belief in something bigger than the life they’ve been dealt?