The weather in my city has been beautiful this week - mid 70's and sunny. The professional basketball team has been on a role, ranking among the highest in their division. The President of the United States even spent the night in one of our downtown hotels on Wednesday. It seems our city has had a pretty good week.

However, another reality has played itself out in my city this week - stories of kids being abused, abandoned, neglected and left to fend for themselves have filled our nightly news reports and Facebook feeds. Sure, it's been a pretty good week in my city - it's also been a horrifically tragic one. The same is probably true of your city.

Here's just a few of the headlines from this past week:

Boy, 5, found beaten and malnourished inside closet of home

This story gripped our city. A 5 year old boy found locked, beaten and nearly starved to death in a closet underneath the stairs of his home. Fed a slice a bread and a few sips of milk a day, his ribs and shoulder blades were nearly piercing through his dangerously frail skin. He slept on a mattress still wet with urine and feces and was forced to wear a diaper rather than be let out of the closet to use the toilet. One of the first responders described what he saw: He was severely under nourished, bone sticking out, bumps, bruises. His skin was coming off on his back. It's a horrific horrific situation.

He didn't ask for this. His parents did this to him. Imagine your 5 year old boy in that closet. Devastating. 

Pediatric nurse arrested, accused of poisoning daughter

A woman, trained as a pediatric nurse in our city, for reasons yet to be determined was found to be poisoning her pre-school age daughter with salt. She allegedly chose salt because she knew, based on her training in the medical field, that it would be hard to detect that as the source and thereby difficult to implicate her of any wrong doing. As a result of the poisoning, the child who is now 4, suffered a severe brain injury and was admitted to the intensive care unit for 3 days. 

She didn't ask for this. Her mom did this to her. Picture your 4 year old girl lying in that hospital bed. Heartbreaking.

Crying baby found lying between murdered parents in southwest Houston

A four month old baby girl was found crying as she laid on the floor between the bodies of her two brutally murdered parents. Investigators made the gruesome discovery what is believed to be hours after the incident occurred. While this case is not about the abuse or neglect of a child per say, it is about a child who has literally been left with no parents - suddenly orphaned - and at her young age, completely unaware of the tragedy that's unfolded around her. Her world and her life forever changed by the hands of someone who police are still searching for.

She didn't ask for this. Someone forced it upon her. Put your 4 month old on the floor in that room. Gut-wrenching.

It's been a beautiful week in my city. It's also been a broken one. 

I've been reminded in deep, haunting, devastating ways that the world is not as it should be and that the vulnerable, helpless, defenseless and voiceless desperately need people who are willing to stand in the gap on their behalf - to fight for them, speak for them and defend them as if they were their own. It's impossible to hear their stories and not be moved by them. It's impossible to not be haunted by them and broken over them. It's impossible to know of them and discard them as fiction - because they are reality. Real kids in real brokenness needing real help. 

This is foster care - interceding into dark stories in order to bring light into them. It's advocating the cause of the helpless, seeking justice for the defenseless and maintaining the rights of the oppressed. This is nothing less than what Jesus has done for us. We, therefore, are compelled to do the same for them.

Stories like this happen EVERY DAY and EVERYWHERE. Not just my city, but yours too. Who will help them, Church? If not us, who? It has to be us. It just has to be.


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