I grew up on a farm in Northern Illinois and like most farm boys, I had chores to do each day. These chores included feeding cattle, gathering eggs, shoveling corn, working in the fields, making hay, and doing whatever Dad needed me to do that day. I didn’t consider the chores work because this was our way of life.
We weren’t rich, but my parents fed and clothed me well, treated me with love, and allowed me to enjoy my childhood with all of its many activities, such as sports, 4-H, movies, and so forth. Dad always excused me from chores if one of my activities interfered with his work schedules.
Now, look at the above photo. These are Dalit children who are forced to work in almost slave-like conditions to help their families survive or pay off debts. It is estimated that 150 million of these children suffer similar fates in India, which has the world’s largest child labor force. Abuse is common, with long hours in miserable conditions and no hope of escape. This is the fate of a Dalit child.
There was a time when I ignored the pain of children in far off lands, such as India. Why can’t they take care of themselves, like I did? I thought. My arrogance must have been a putrid stench in God’s nostrils.
But now, I can no longer disregard the truth that it was God’s grace which allowed me to be born in the “breadbasket of the world” and not in a Mumbai slum.
Today, I prayed:
Lord, I pray that our American ears are opened to the Dalit mothers in India who weep for their children and who refuse to be comforted because their infant’s childhoods are no more. (Based on Matthew 2:18)
What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you?