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Inspirational Articles by Lygia Lovelace


Confounding The Wise
by Lygia Lovelace


When it was her time to choose a card and read it, Lacole looked at me simply and said, "I don't know how to read."


The other eleven and twelve-year-old kids stared at her. They began making fun of her.


"What?! You can't READ!? What's wrong with you?"


I quickly hushed them, and we took turns reading for her. She seemed unmoved by the disapproving looks the other children were giving her. My heart went out to her. She was obviously accustomed to the scorn and the comments.


Several weeks ago, a team from our church went to East St. Louis to do ministry. While some of our church family repaired damages to a Christian center there, others of us played basketball with the teens, while still more of us taught Bible school to the children.


It was quite an experience! There were so many teen-agers and children! It wasn't always fun, and often it was chaotic. On the first day that we were there, the children, especially, would not even make eye contact with us. Attitude was thicker than the air. We were discouraged! They were unruly throughout the day -- not listening to instructions or to the Bible stories.


We prayed. We prayed a lot!


"Father, you closed the mouths of the lions for Daniel…please close these mouths so they can hear Your Word!


"Help us to see them as You see them, Father."


He did, and He did.


The next day, during the Bible story, there was complete silence -- even among the older kids! As I taught the preteen kids from the Word, I looked around at them, really seeing them.


Tears filled my eyes as I noticed that almost all of them, while they were listening, were sucking their thumbs. So much insecurity, so much need.


So much hunger -- for love, for acceptance.


Thank God we have a Savior who can meet all of their needs -- who will hear and respond to all of their heart cries!


After a few short days there, we began to see the walls crumble, as the walls of Jericho did on that day long ago. Oh, it didn't take marching or trumpets to break down the walls this time…what it took was much prayer, and love. It took God's love.


And as they got to know us, they wanted to be held and hugged. They talked to us, they fought to be near us, and questions began to fall like rain…


All of you are white…why are you here? Was Jesus a white man?


What if I am afraid of God? If I did something REALLY bad would God still love me?


Why didn't Jesus just fight back when he got arrested?


What about murderers? Does God love them? Is it a sin to shoot somebody?


How many times do I have to forgive people I don't like?


As we taught them more and more about Jesus, we began role-playing tough situations -- situations that these kids might encounter on a daily basis: what to do if someone picks a fight with you, what to do if you are tempted to steal, what to do if someone hurts your friend.


"What would Jesus do?" we asked them repeatedly, as we acted out these encounters. In one such situation, a boy pretended to stumble and fall. This particular day, we had already done these role-plays in the other classes, and each time, when a child would pretend to fall, the other children would merely laugh, never even considering helping him up.


One child was even so bold as to say, "Ha! Jesus might help him, but I sure wouldn't!"


Lacole's class would be no different…except for Lacole.


Randomly, I picked her as part of the group who would respond to the child doing the role-play. I chose a boy from the class to pretend to stumble and fall. There were a lot of children in this particular group, and with all of the noise and confusion, I'm not sure that the other children were even grasping what we were doing.


But when Lacole saw the boy stumble and fall -- even though he was pretending, and before I could even address the situation -- she responded. As a natural reaction, she went over to him and reached for his hand. Rudely, he yelled, "Don't touch me!" So then, she stooped over to pick up the books he had pretended to drop when he fell. Gently she handed them back to him.


No one noticed except me -- and the Father. I put my arms around Lacole. A passage of Scripture immediately came to mind:


Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential;
not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;
God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things --
and the things that are not -- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him…

I Corinthians 1:26-29


By Thursday, it was time. All week long, we had told them about Jesus -- of His birth, His growing up years, His ministry on earth, and of the many changed lives that came as a result of knowing Him. It was time to tell of Jesus' sacrifice. We talked about the beatings, the imprisonment, the injustice, and Jesus' willingness to die -- for each of us. We carried a cross, feeling its heaviness -- its oppression. We talked about Jesus' death and we wrapped one of the children from head to toe, demonstrating the burial preparation of that day. We spoke of the sorrow of His followers and the despair they felt, placing Jesus in a dark tomb -- the prison of death.


Ken then spoke to each group of older children, sharing the plan of salvation with them:


Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…
Acts 16:31


For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23


If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

Luke 9:23


"Those of you who would like to make that important decision today of asking Jesus to become your Lord and Savior can pray silently after me…" he told them.


As he began to pray with these older kids, most of them startled us by praying out loud. Many of them stood, repeating Ken's prayer. They boldly asked for forgiveness, they boldly proclaimed Christ's Lordship, they boldly took the first steps in a relationship with their heavenly Father.


The angels in heaven were indeed rejoicing on Thursday! We rejoiced on Friday, too, as we proclaimed from the rooftops of East St. Louis,


Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
He is not here, He has risen, just as He said!
Matthew 28:5-6


Lacole wasn't there that day -- she was only able to come for a few days. But I will not forget her. She is just a little girl: not very educated, nor outwardly beautiful, nor outgoing -- not even liked. But in the midst of hundreds of poor children of that neighborhood, among the slums of East St. Louis, among the danger and depression of the area…the Father knows where she is, and He sees her heart. Lacole is truly a child after God's own heart.


And don't you know? All of them who accepted Him that day -- all who truly walk with the Father -- now walk in royalty!


He has created them for noble purposes, to confound the wise.

Copyright © 2010. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights reserved. KenLovelaceMinistries.com

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