Old Made New
It was a balmy 95 degrees on the San Antonio river walk. As the boat drifted along on its half-hour sightseeing voyage, the captain was commenting on points of interest, and then he said something that caught my ear. He said, “Here in San Antonio, we don’t like to get rid of things that are old. We prefer to rehabilitate them, and make them into something that is new.”
At 16, she was used to taking care of herself. From the few stories she shared, I knew that life had been chaos, and I suspected that what she spoke barely scratched the surface of what childhood was actually like for her. Her family tree included generations of substance abuse and domestic violence. I asked how she coped and she laughed a little. “I used to smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day – started when I was 7. By 10 I was drinking alcohol every day. But that’s in the past – I’ve been clean for a year.” She went on to tell me that most people just saw her as yet another chapter in the old story of a broken family – a kid with no hope and no future. But then she met a teacher who was dif-ferent. Who paid extra attention to her. Offered to help her after school so she could catch up with her peers. Believed in her. Told her how she could be different from her family history. How she could be somebody new.
The truth is I’ve seen teens in foster care who I haven’t believed were fixable. Who I don’t spend much time with because the yield seems so low, so unlikely to be worth anything of value. Who I don’t love as much as I should because I don’t think it will matter. But we are not in this to throw out kids, to deem them as old and useless, but rather to REdeem them, to give them opportunities to be made new and useful.
God, give me new eyes today – ones that can see what is possible.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Prayer: Dear God, these are Your children. They were Your children yesterday living under a bridge, and they will be Your children tomorrow in a foster home. Only You know the divine plan for each of these children. Remind us gently and often that You will, and always have, taken care of that which is Yours. Thank You for loving these children. Amen.