I love this picture. It was taken after an exhausting and emotional weekend in which we expected too much of you and could give you too little of us - and yet for the most part, the five of you handled it all with patience and grace. On this particular Monday we took a day off school and life to head to the beach with its rocks and waves and wind and wide open spaces. Afterwards we enjoyed a yummy lunch of steak sandwiches and burgers and delectable Ecuadorian fresh fruit juices. You humored me and posed for this picture.
I love this picture so much because I love you. And it is because I love you that I have shed so many tears this week behind closed doors, in the silence of the car when I'm driving alone, out loud when sharing my requests at our weekly ladies' prayer time. As far removed as we are from the United States while living in Chile, even so this week the burden of current events landed fair and square in our living room where we sat eye to eye with you and tried to share the facts framed in something other than fear.
But I love you, and sometimes I am afraid. I am afraid of shattering the beauty I see when I look at you - all radiant energy and spontaneous laughter and carefree joy. I am afraid of breaking your heart, of robbing your innocence, of stealing your self-worth with my words. Do you understand what we are saying when we tell you that immediate obedience can be more than just doing what is right, what the Bible teaches, what God asks? When our voices quiver and we say, "For you, obedience can mean the difference between life ... and death." When we try to explain that simply because of the color of your skin, you may not be afforded a second chance?
I love you, and I love our family. I hope you hear me and believe as I do, that our family is a glimpse of Heaven. Not because of our behavior (or lack thereof!) But because one day "every tribe and tongue and nation" will worship in perfect unity around the throne of God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are so blessed, we don't have to wait. As a family we get to experience that unity here on earth, but along with it we may have to experience pain. Like any parent, we want to protect you from all pain though we are learning that we cannot. We can only walk beside you. Even that feels insufficient when I know I can never walk inside your skin.
I love that our Savior did what I can never do. No, He did not come in your skin but He came as a man "despised and rejected, acquainted with grief." He came as a member of the race that throughout all of history has been targeted for bigotry, oppression and destruction. My greatest prayer is that you would know and cling to Him, wherever life takes you and whatever comes your way. I will fail you, but He never will. I will be incapable of understanding, but He will understand you completely. I will feel hopeless as I have this week, yet He will always offer endless and eternal hope. Indeed, He is our Hope!