I wish I had thought to snap a picture so you could get the full effect.
We were driving between two of our children’s homes in southern India when we came upon some slums—heaps of garbage with a few tarps and metal shacks that cradled masses. Sadly, it’s a common sight in India, but it’s heartbreaking, nonetheless.
I always imagine what it would be like to live there: the struggle for food, the relinquishment of sanitation, the ordeal to obtain water. Can you even fathom what it would be like to raise children in those conditions?
It typically moves me to say a prayer of thanksgiving for our house parents who have taken children in from such environments. Because of their stunning obedience, children who were once intimately acquainted with hunger have become familiar with health. Those who had no prospect of education have become literate. Many who had never heard the name of Jesus call Him Savior and Lord.
But as I look at these shanties, I am reminded that the job is far from complete. Children still reside in cardboard.
So, as we rode from Agape Fellowship Home to House of Joy, I was immersed in this routine of observing, imagining and praying when something caught my eye.
Now, many of the sheds we see have a wire structure on top where laundry can be left in the scorching sun to dry. But I had never seen anything like this one.
A metal shack that resembled a chicken coop (but was undoubtedly a home) flaunted a wire structure that functioned sufficiently as a drying rack, but it was in the shape of the Taj Mahal!
I marveled at the ingenuity and skill required to create the elaborate construction. Incongruous with its surroundings which evidenced a struggle for survival, this work of art replicated the nation’s most lavish display of wealth and pride.
I envisioned the owner to be a feisty fellow with a good sense of humor. Can you imagine the kids going to school? When asked where they lived, they didn’t have to reply “hovel number 237.” They could reply with delight, “I live in the Taj Mahal!”
I admired the spunk, the creativity and the ability to defy circumstances. Whoever lived in that metal shed rejected the stigma of poverty and claimed a palatial estate, instead. What hutzpah!
Isn’t that how we Christians should be?
Compared to what’s awaiting us in heaven, we’re living in a dump. If we choose to focus on all that’s wrong with our surroundings, we can easily despair. Cancer steals our loved ones. Temptations beat us over the head. Betrayal stabs us, and stress suffocates.
But our permanent address far exceeds the glory of the Taj Mahal. Our true home is a place where ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev. 21:4
Temporal trappings distort our vision. Can we not reply to them with delight, “Where I’m from, you can’t even touch me. I’m just passing through this place.”
If we really believed we will soon inherit mansions on streets of gold, we would be an interesting people.
Despite the struggle for survival around us, we could share the feisty sense of humor of the man whose laundry rack resembles the Taj Mahal. We could live in a way that defies our current circumstances and replicates, instead, a heavenly peace. We could assume our designation as royalty and take some authority over the daily battles we face.
Sounds liberating, doesn’t it?
Trust me, all of this happens when you believe.
This month, as you lift The Boaz Project’s needs in prayer, please remember to:
Pray for children around the world who have no earthly defender.
Thank God for our house parents who sacrificially live as Christ’s hands and feet, reaching orphans with His love and mercy.
Continue to pray for the logistics to be worked out as we begin to build a house for Agape Fellowship Home.
Weather may have forced us to cancel this year’s Race for an Orphan, but we still have hope in finding sponsors for the three orphanages that would have been featured. These are our only orphanages who still need regular support. You can find more information on each home by clicking below: