Ten years ago, there were two orphan boys ages 11 and 12 whose lives were hard and whose bellies were hungry. They had never known full.
Their lives were spent trying to figure out how to simply survive.
Their long days felt very, very hopeless. Their long nights were filled with prayers asking God to please notice them. Give them one more day of life. And somehow let someone catch wind of their cries that just seemed to rise into the night sky and dissipate unheard.
One day in the orphanage chapel service a worker challenged one of the orphan boys to stand in the midst of his nothingness and proclaim why he was thankful. The boy squirmed to his feet. He swatted the flies darting at his crusty face and stared down at his cracked and bleeding feet. He took his toe and twisted it into the dirt as knots of nerves twisted in his gut.
It is hard to be full of thanks when your belly and your life feel so empty.
Though he was mentally searching for something, something, anything…
his brain betrayed him and he feared getting smacked for saying nothing. So, he opened his mouth and forced out a praise song. At first the sound was an off key, slight attempt barely squeaking out this simple praise for God and God alone.
It was like pumping and pumping a deep well that only squeaks and creaks and produces nothing but muddy droplets long held captive inside the pipes. Eventually, the fresh water will rush out in rich gushes of delight. And so did the song of the little orphan boy.
He was as surprised as anyone. He’d never known he could sing.
The next day the other orphan boy was asked to stand and say why he was thankful. He too decided to sing.
Eventually, there were 12 boys who found themselves surprised by the songs they never knew they had. Twelve boys who made the choice to stand in the midst of their nothingness and give thanks. In this world they had nothing. But in God they had everything. And though it takes most people a lifetime to understand how things unseen are what really makes a person full, the young orphan boys found this truth in their songs.
I will continue this story tomorrow. There is so much more.
But for today, I want us to not shy away from whatever way this story pricks our hearts. Find the challenge. Let God speak in bold whispers to your soul. Grab some of these words and refuse the typical momentary inspiration in lieu of that unsettled feeling that this unfinished story is supposed to haunt us all.
And give yourself permission to be haunted.
Congrats to Amy Blankenship! You are the winner of my book ‘Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl’. Please email Holly@Proverbs31.org to obtain your book!