Field Story by Bailey Prescott, Mazatlán
“I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.” Psalm 140:12
“Babies are scary.”
It was my first thought when Back2Back’s social worker asked if I would be willing to help at a Christmas party. There would be about forty kids, but there wasn’t sufficient supervision. Four of the forty children were babies, and that’s where I came in. It would’ve been easier for me to single-handedly care for the 36 other children than hold just one baby, but I said yes, despite my reservations.
My nerves spiked when we reached the party, and the social worker handed over the little bundle in her arms. I looked down at the smallest human I’d ever seen. Scarlet was one-month old, and had already been living in a children’s home for two weeks. She was also sick with a cough. I stared at her tiny body, feeling the weight of her story. There are few things more heartbreaking than a sick, newborn baby living in a children’s home.
As I share Scarlet’s story, there are many words I could use to describe her situation: sad, disappointing, unfair, tragic, bitter. But as Scarlet coughed and slept against my chest, God’s fierce reminder flooded through me. Her story is My story, and My stories are never hopeless. Despite the hardships already in Scarlet’s short life, she is not forgotten, unloved, or unseen. Psalm 140:12 states, “I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.” I don’t know anyone more poor and needy than Scarlet, the tiniest of God’s vulnerable people.
Scarlet slept as the hours passed. I prayed God would give her a family who would love her, care for her, provide for her. I asked that she would know the Lord personally and intimately and have a strength only possible from Him. Scarlet is the smallest orphan I’ve ever prayed for protection. The night wore on and eventually Scarlet and I parted ways, but I stayed up late thinking about my encounter with injustice andhope. What had happened to Scarlet was unjust – orphaned and left in a children’s home from birth. But God’s promise to her in Psalm 140:12 remains true, even as we wait for its fulfillment to come to completion. Scarlet may fall asleep each night in a children’s home, but her story is marked with the love of a Father who offers us hope in the dark.
Lamentations 3:19-24 says, “Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” And we faithfully wait for the story of hope our God will tell.
While you may not meet Scarlet this week, you’ll likely meet a child who leaves you searching for hope within injustice. Children young and growing, underweight, unashamedly affectionate and hopeful for love. Bailey’s first reaction to watching Scarlet was fear. Perhaps you can relate as you venture into a new country and meet new faces. Allow the Lord to remind you His work is always hopeful.
1. How have you seen or felt hope this week? Write down one of those experiences or share with someone close to you.
2. Have you seen justice secured for a child or family this week? What did that look like?
3. Do you believe just as He secures justice for the orphaned and vulnerable child, God secures justice for you? What does that look like in your own life?