Just a few days ago, I was chatting with a fellow blogger about our experiences working with foster kids. One of the most challenging aspects of working with these kids is that they can be difficult to understand. It’s so hard to relate to them, because most of them come from backgrounds that we can’t even imagine. Especially if we’ve enjoyed a happy childhood, it’s hard to grasp the horror that these children have already survived.
I’ve never seen the state take a child away from his or her parents lightly. Usually there is some kind of abuse or neglect going on in the family that would give most grownups nightmares. As if that wasn’t bad enough, these children have to cope with a life of uncertainty. Many of them never know where they will be sleeping tomorrow night.
Life in the foster care system can be brutal, yet a remarkable number of these kids stay breathtakingly sane. The ones who do manage to thrive underneath this incredible strain often have one thing in common: they cling to the few things that remain unchanged no matter where they are or how bad their circumstances become.
I know the phrase, “the sun will come out tomorrow,” has become something of a cliché. We’ve heard the little orphan Annie sing the song so many times that many of us just want to stick our fingers in our ears to keep the melody from getting stuck in our heads again (in fact, I’m guessing it’s already ringing in your ears just by me mentioning it. You’re welcome, by the way.). But let’s not lose sight of the message in the repetition.
If there’s one thing a foster kid can count on, it’s that the sun will always rise in the East every morning. No matter where they go or who they’re with, it’s one thing they can be sure of. There are days when clouds or storms obscure its rays, but the sun will always comes back. Always. In a world where everything else stays in a constant state of flux, it’s a simple reassuring fact that can ground a child’s soul… and an adult’s too.
It wasn’t until I was speaking with my fellow blogger that I realized just how much these children have blessed me. It may have been my job to help them, but it turns out they’ve taught me an invaluable lesson about living with uncertainty.
My mom’s health is always in a state of flux, and all too often we’re fighting for her survival. It’s stressful and traumatic, but I realized today that I’ve been fighting using a skill that I learned from those precious children. Part of what keeps me sane is that I’m clinging to the few things that remain constant, the things that I can be certain of even in the middle of each medical crisis.
God’s light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it. In the ER waiting room, in post-op, and in a million other places where our lives seem to teeter on the edge of disaster, I sometimes have to wait for his rays to come through. I can’t always see him in the middle of the crisis, but Jesus is the same today, yesterday, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). I know that Jesus loves me, and he always will. He’s not going anywhere. I can count on him.
One day, too, there will be no more hospitals. There will be no more sickness or death or suffering. Two thousand years ago, as Jesus prepared to ascend to heaven, he assured us that he would be coming back. On that day, he will wipe away all our tears (Revelation 21:4). We can count on that, because God is the only one who never breaks a promise.
For so many of us, it feels so dark in our lives today. There is so much uncertainty. We don’t know how we’ll weather the storm, but when we feel like we’ll be overwhelmed, we can learn something from these precious children who have endured even greater uncertainty than most of us ever will. We can anchor our broken spirits to the few things that remain stable, the solid things of which we can be sure. The sun will come out tomorrow, and God is always at our side. Wait for it. For now, we live by faith and not by sight, but one that will change.
Hang on. It will be morning soon.
Thank you for reading, and if you would like more information about foster care and how you can make a difference in the life of a child, I recommend you check out the blog, Life Observed. This is a budding new blog by someone with a wealth of life experience in this area. I’m sure the author will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Also, check out the video for an inside look into the life of a foster child. We all need to be loved. I hope you will prayerfully consider whether God is calling you to provide that love to a child who desperately needs it.
Thank you again for stopping by, and God bless you in your journey.