The Haiti Team is back – tired, a day late (thanks to American Airline) and a little under the weather, but thankful to be home. It’s always difficult to express the pain, the joy, the blessings, and the tears that the teams experience on their trips to visit our Sister Church. They tried to share some if it with their testimonies on Sunday and they will try again as we share our pictures this coming Sunday. As I said during the service, to really understand you have to go there.
I spent this morning catching up on the pile of mail on my desk. As I read through each piece of mail one story jumped off the page at me. It was written by our missionary, Maria Gusmao in Brazil. She wrote; Three weeks ago, one mother came to one of the slum schools where we teach Bible clubs and told her 7 year old son that she did not want him to come back home again. She said this in a very rude way in front of all the students and teachers. The little boy cried out and loud in despair. It was so hard to watch that happening. At the tender age of seven, Joao Carlos, a little boy from the slums of Recife, Brazil, watched as his world crashed down around him. Rejected by his own mother, the one person he should have been able to count on, he was now alone in the world. Unfortunately, Joao is not the only little boy or girl who has been rejected, abused, neglected, beaten, or worse. It happens every day in city after city and village after village around the world. But in His grace, God provided for little Joao. Another mother who was there offered to take him in – but I’m sure that he will never forget the day when he was rejected by his own mother.
I want to use the story of Joao to illustrate a great truth. There was a day when an even greater tragedy took place; a day when the Son of God was rejected by His own father (Matthew 27:46). And make no mistake about it, He felt all of Joao’s pain and rejection; He felt the pain and rejection of ten thousand Joao’s. We don’t know all of Joao’s story, perhaps he was a bad little boy and had caused his mother a lot of grief (although nothing he could have done could justify her actions). Maybe in some twisted way he deserved his mother’s rejection. But that was not the case with Christ. We know His story and we know that He was rejected by His father, not for anything He had done but because of our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He didn’t deserve to be rejected and yet God turned His back on His only son. What pain that must have been. Joao’s story brings into focus for us the intense emotional suffering that Christ went through so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). He suffered for you.
I don’t know what will happen to little Joao. I hope and pray that his new family will love him and that someday the emotional scars of rejection will heal. I pray that someday he will understand how Christ was also rejected by His father and that he will turn to Christ in faith because of their shared experience. I pray that their rejection will become a bond between them that will bind Joao to the Savior in a special way that none of us will ever understand. I pray that Joao will become a great man of God who will search out little boys in the slums of Recife and share the love of Christ with them.
Pray for the Joaos of the world. They are out there. They need you.
Stay in the Word