The air was icy cold as it whipped off the ocean, ruffling our clothing as the sun set down. The primitive shacks and buildings gave off a rosy hue with the last rays of light and from every direction I began to see little children running. Across the verdant field they ran, little shadows at first then radiant faces peeking out behind raven black hair, bright eyes shining. They came to play.
Soon music from the outreach van saturated the air around the now darkened houses that held no electricity. Little hands slipped into mine as children laughed up at me. All around children were jumping rope, throwing Frisbees, tossing balls we had brought. Such simple toys and yet they brought such deep joy. Standing and watching and trying to soak it all in I noticed her, a tiny imp of a little girl with wild hair and sparkling eyes. She was looking at me expectantly and pointing across the field. For a minute I could not figure out what she wanted to tell me and then I realized she was saying, “up, up!” and pointing to a young guy in our group who carried another girl on his shoulders. At first my mind cried, “Oh Lord, I’m too old for that” but within seconds I found myself lifting this lighter than air child and settling her happily on my shoulders. At first she sat so still, clinging to my hands with all her strength but soon I could feel her little body move and then shake with joyful giggles. So we wandered around, showing off to her friends, spinning every few minutes just to hear her peals of laughter fill the darkened sky. Then she wanted to run and to dance and to spin all to the beat of the music punctuated by her tiny laugh.
I carried a queen on my shoulders tonight. All 3 feet and light as a feather bit of her, and my life will never be the same. You see, to so many she would be the face of poverty, the face of lacking, the face of need…but to my Lord hers is the face of royalty.
Psalm 113:7-8 says, “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of His People.”
Tonight I carried a queen on my shoulders and for a few moments God’s way of looking at things became blindingly clear. This is what matters, this pouring out, digging in, getting right in the mix and rubbing faces and lives with those the Lord cherishes so deeply…it is what truly matters. So much of my life has been a search for comfort, for purpose, for hiding from the hard things of the world. Why? I don’t know. Because where God says He is, where He tells us to be, what He spells out so clearly and deeply as a part of His heart is the pouring out, the spending ourselves, the reaching into the lives that appear needy not so that we can come in and fix them but so that we can humble ourselves and truly see the face of God.
Tonight I carried one of God’s royal queens on my shoulders and I am left with one overriding feeling…oh Lord I want to do it again, please let me do more.
Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, you his servants;
praise the name of the LORD.
Let the name of the LORD be praised,
both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the LORD is to be praised.
The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes,
with the princes of his people.
He settles the childless woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the LORD.