Praying for the Tough Kids
We have all had that child in our class or ministry over the years who is a little harder to handle. Oh sure, we love them, but if we are being completely honest, we may not always like them every minute of every day.
This is the child who is always dropped off early, picked up late, and never gets sick. You know the one I am talking about, right?
Mine was named Jorge. And he was about to change my perspective on all the other “Jorge’s ” I would encounter.
Here’s My Story
It was the day of the big Mission’s Conference. I got to church early that Sunday morning. Each classroom was set up to represent a different country, and the hallways had chairs lined up like an airplane. We were going to ‘travel’ to the various countries where our church had missionaries in order learn more about them, and also, to meet those who were home from the mission field.
Jorge was there early, as usual. I had never met his parents. I figured they dropped him off to get a break on Sunday mornings.
Jorge could dismantle things about as fast as I could set them up. Today was no exception. He was running around pretending he was the pilot of the plane, moving chairs, and sputtering “Vrrrrrmmmm” as he flew around the rooms. Literally.
As I was murmuring to myself – well, okay, I was complaining – the Lord clearly let me know in that still small voice that I needed to be praying for Jorge. Thus began my journey in prayer for Jorge.
I confess that at first it was strictly a step of obedience, my heart was not fully in gear. But as time went on, the Lord began to change my heart. God wasn’t changing Jorge, or the situation; He was changing me.
Deposited from a Storm Cloud
One day I was buying food for a Christian Education meeting, when I came out of the grocery store to a torrential downpour. With no umbrella, I grabbed my bags and made a mad dash for the car. As I ran full speed ahead, one of the bags fell apart and groceries went flying everywhere.
As I was frantically trying to grab items, I heard a little voice, “I’ll help you, Mrs. Capehart.”
Completely surprised, I looked up…right into Jorge’s big brown eyes. Where did he come from?
Between us we got all the items and threw them into my car. I happily proceeded to give Jorge the biggest, most genuine bear hug ever!
“How did you get here?” I asked.
“Oh, me and my ma and us kids was in our car waitin’ for the storm to go by and I seen you. I told her you was the nice lady at the church and my ma said I could help you.”
I looked around. There, in an old, well-used car was a very tired looking mom giving a shy wave. I brought Jorge back to the car, introduced myself to her, and thanked her profusely. I think I counted six other children packed into the car like sardines.
Being wet no longer mattered because I realized the Lord was taking me through some deep waters – not to drown me, but to cleanse me.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…(Isaiah 43:2).
The Lord was answering my prayers about Jorge.
A Fresh Start
The following Sunday when Jorge bounded in, I was genuinely happy to see him. “I helped you get them groceries in the car, didn’t I!” he proudly exclaimed.
I hugged him hard. “You sure did, Jorge.”
“It was rainin’ hard and I helped you, right Mrs. Capehart?”
“Yes, my darling child, you did!” We laughed about the whole scene as we hugged.
Each Sunday for weeks we would have the same conversation and Jorge beamed with pride at every re-telling. But something more important was happening, as well. We were bonding. And stranger than fiction, Jorge began to be a great helper for me, and I looked forward to seeing him each Sunday.
And Now, My Little Brother in Christ
Months later, on a cool Sunday morning as we were waiting for someone to pick him up, Jorge began to ask me questions about Jesus. These were real questions. “Why did Jesus die on the cross?” “How come He didn’t stay dead?” Two months later, on Easter morning we were setting out everything to make Resurrection Baskets, and now he had a flood of questions. Later that Sunday, he was helping me clean up. Then Jorge took that leap of faith.
He was putting away each item for the Resurrection Baskets. Instead of tossing things in baggies, he was quietly putting things into little piles and looking at each one. Then he took the Resurrection basket he had prepared and carefully took out each item. He stopped and held a cross in his hands for several minutes. Then with gentleness, I had not seen in him, he quietly held the cloth which represented Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. With his little hands he took the communion cup and unleavened bread. He noticed me watching him and questions came tumbling out. Appearing to be satisfied, he went back to his task and put the purple cloth, which represented the curtain in the temple, into the basket.
Finally, he came over and crawled up into my lap which he had never done before. He laid his head on my shoulder and said in his broken English, “Jesus loves me, don’t He? I mean, He really does.” After another few minutes, he looked up and asked, “‘Kin I ask Him into my heart?”
“But as many received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (Galatians 3:26).
What God Taught Me through George
Today Jorge is in full-time ministry. I praise God for teaching me so much through him. When I find myself getting annoyed with a child in my class, I think of Jorge, God’s special agent sent to change me. Instead of focusing on the problem, I give that person to Jesus in prayer, and with genuine praise say, “Thank you for what you are teaching me through this precious person.”
For I have learned that part of what God is doing is trying to change and mold me into His likeness. When I quit whining about the refining, and thank Him for what He is teaching me, He allows me to unwrap the package and find the treasure.
I truly believe that God sends these special agents, or perhaps even angels, into our ministries. He is teaching me to pray for my eyes to see beyond the appearance, to hear with my heart, to touch lives with His tenderness, and to express His love to those He puts in my life.
God used Jorge to change me. It was a Resurrection Sunday I will never forget.
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).