Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Larry Pray

Sunday, October 26

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them. I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
—Isaiah 41:17

Something happens when we read scripture. Suddenly a story springs to mind. Suddenly an event finds its perspective, and the lesson has an example.

Years ago, I was talking with a man who worked with street children in Brazil. The children, both boys and girls, had left home to earn a living in the city. There were, of course, no jobs waiting for them; no family waiting for them; and no safe room in which they could stay. They were on their own. What could they do?

Some had taken to begging, others to selling gum, others to hawking whatever they could find or perhaps stealing. And there was another problem. At the end of the day, there was no secure place to keep their money. At that point the younger, more vulnerable kids fell prey to the stronger, older kids who took their earnings.

A church worker wondered what to do. He realized it might help if the younger kids had a safe place to store their money. It was, of course, a risky thought, as it meant challenging a gang mentality and economy. Nevertheless, he thought it might be a way to not forsake the newly arrived street children.

He bought a safe, and, working with one of the street merchants who had also seen the cycle of violence, asked if he would put the safe in his store. The merchant agreed, and the street children suddenly had a bank. Then they had savings. Then they had dignity. And then they had a margin of safety because everyone knew that they had no money with them as they slept on the streets.

I have often wondered, did it really work? But my analysis of the system misses the point. In the end, the key is that somebody remembered them; somebody took action; somebody connected; and somebody cared. They were not forsaken.

Neither are we when we too seek the water of life.

Thank you God for not forsaking us. And we thank you for helping us find ways to not forsake our neighbors as together we seek the living water. In Jesus' name. Amen.