Lugging brushed and tins of paint, we climbed two flights of stairs to the children’s ward of the public hospital in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The walls and windows were bare and dirty, offering no source of entertainment or distraction. The children stayed six to ten in a room and there was one bathroom and a shower to share for the whole floor. Each room had a small sink with cold water and each patient was responsible for their own soap and towel.
We hoped to brighten up the place by painting cartoon figures, animals, and Bible characters: anything to break the monotony for the children.
Down one hall was a room with glass windows and there were twelve cribs inside. Lying on the cold vinyl covered bed closest to the window was a baby, bound in white cloth, and wrapped with masking tape. On the masking tape was written in black magic marker, “682”.
I asked of an onlooker, “What happened?”
“He died this morning (seven hours ago). The morgue has not come to pick him up,” he replied.
“Where is the mother?” I asked, my first thought being to comfort her and pray with her.
“There is no mother. The baby was abandoned.”
This was a phrase I had heard all too often and my heart broke for little 682. He had no name. He had died alone, and lay wrapped in cloth, waiting for the time to be taken away. No one mourned him. No one cared. He would have no burial.
And then I saw a hand. And on the palm of the hand was written, “682.”
And it was the hand of God.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast, and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Through she may forget you, I will never forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:15-16
His earthy mother may have abandoned him, but his Heavenly Father took him home.
Five years later, I look at the women in my bible study and wonder how many of them also feel abandoned by their mothers and their sisters. I think of the one who people avoid because she is boring. Then there is the lady who talks too much and a greeting turns into a thirty-minute monologue. There are those whose problems seem too many and great and we have a tendency to avoid them because we feel inadequate and sometimes just do not have time.
When we ignore these sisters, are we not as the mother who abandoned Baby 682? For, they their names also are written on the palm of His hand.
Today my heart cried for these women as my heart cried five years ago. I made a point to go to each of these daughters of God and gave them a hug and ask them how they were doing.
By Shanda Oakley at A Pause On The PathLeave a Comment
Emily Cook says
I really enjoy your writing. I can just see that baby, and my heart breaks for him too. (It makes me want to go adopt them all… if only I could!) So glad God’s heart is bigger than ours, and His house is bigger too…..
Yes, His house is bigger than ours. There is room for all 🙂
Marina Bromley says
Lovely! To go from being the hands and feet of Jesus, to being His arms and having His heart!
We are all ashes changed into beauty by His great love. When He sends someone to share His love, it changes us.
Praise God for your faithfulness! Good work!!
Great post! Thanks for sharing!
I love that: going from the hands of feet of Jesus to being His arms and having his heart. Isn’t that our goal!
Lynn Mercurio says
A beautiful post. My heart aches for the sadness in the world but rejoices in Him who heals all! Thanks for sharing this story.
There is sadness but also rejoicing in Him who heals. As I go through these comments I am at the beside of a beautiful little 15 year old child of His as she is passing on to eternity. He is the one who gives the ultimate healing.
Niki Blake says
GReat piece…loved it!
What a sad, yet sweet story. We really should embrace each other with all the love that Christ has for us. Thank you for sharing your experience.
Rach (DonutsMama) says
This story broke my heart and brought me to tears. Thank you for the reminder to not abandon our brothers and sisters on this earth.
It is so easy to see the heart breaking stories yet let those around us go unnoticed! It takes effort to remember them.
This brought a tear to my eyes as well… I thank you for your words, and for your reminders… you are awesome!
Beth Williams says
I grew up a rather shy person. People didn’t gravitate to me quickly and I usually was the “third wheel” in most groups. Having a hard time making friends has shaped how I react and interact with others today.
In church, Bible study or other groups I try to talke with each person–especially the elderly ones. They are often the forgotten people of this generation. My intention is to be the “daybrightener” for everyone & let them know someone cares for them!
You are so right: it is often the elderly that feel abandoned. I also have a heart for them and try to go out of my way to brighten their day. It doesn’t take much!
I was the little girl who sat next to empty chairs in Sunday School. That emptiness followed me into adulthood and haunts my heart with an ache I am unable to medicate or ignore. I still wish for friends. And when I enter a room, I look for the person sitting alone…but for some of us, our hearts remain wrapped tightly…dead to the possibility of relationship.
I love that one baby touched your heart…and that God spoke His love to you through that…and that you reached out to women with bound up hearts.
A touching post!
Dear Muchalone, I am soooo sorry that you are ‘one’ of those so often alone. My heart goes out to you and I pray that God sends a special friend into your life. Thank you for always looking for those who are alone. I know part of it is because you don’t want to be alone but it also helps the other loner. I’m sorry you still bear those scars. May God bless you and may other’s reach out their hearts to you.
Shari @ Leaving A Legacy says
Shanda~ This was so beautiful and moving. You reminded me to look at things in a different light, making sure that I show God’s love to everyone. We don’t know their past, or the hurts their carying. They so desperately need to see the Saviour in each of us.
So true: we never know the past or hurts others carry around. They need to see Jesus in each of us and feel his love.
Connie@raise your eyes says
Tears for the abandoned ones…LORD help us to see and to do something in JESUS’ Name.
Brandee Shafer says
Don’t you love how no one is just a number to God?
No one is a number!
Hi Shanda, this is heartbreaking as so many stories of abandoned children are. Sometimes we think we can’t do anything, but as you just reminded us, there are people who feel abandoned in every group and we have to make an effort to reach out. In my community, there are women who live alone, and I noticed that when they share, they do share lengthily, and I have to confess I get impatient! I will remember your post next time and try to have God’s loving and understanding heart! Patsy from HeARTworks
imperfect prose says
oh shanda. your heart bleeds Christ. thank you.
Wendy @ ECTaS! says
May this story be engraved on all our hearts!
Thank you for sharing.
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