The Bible is full of accounts about children. These accounts give me focus for prayer, study and pondering, especially as I minister to children in our community. As I listen to the stories of hope and trial from parents in our county, the Bible stories become alive to me.
During the time that All Saints’ was opening the Lockhart Center, it was evident to me that we were walking the Nativity story. All Saints’ opened our doors to children whose parents had doors closed in their faces, hearing “there is no room for you.” We created the room, opened doors and welcomed children into a loving environment of hope and light.
Lately, I have been reflecting on the account of Ishmael and Isaac. I have been pondering these questions: how are these young boys alike and how are they different. I pray for Ishmael, lost in the wilderness with his mother and the angel who shed light and hope on his path, and Isaac, whose birth confirmed the Lord’s covenant with Abraham. Both boys were beloved and blessed of God, yet their paths so different.
So I ponder about our children. Which ones are lost in the wilderness and need us to be the angels of the Lord, shedding hope and light onto their walk? There are many needs in our community for families with children from ages birth to five years old. We lack childcare centers for working and struggling parents. Those who qualify for subsidies are placed on waiting lists, adding to much frustration regarding the broken systems designed to assist struggling families.
As we cry out to our Lord in prayer, let us remember the children like Ishmael, let us discern God’s call to us to serve. Let us be like Abraham and walk in faith, because it is in that faith that the impossible becomes the possible.
-The Reverend Jackie Whitfield