Speak Up

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Proverbs 31:8-9

It was the third or fourth place we had visited that day. Already, we were tired, hungry. Still walking off the time change. Still trying to process the many places we had already visited and the many places still ahead of us. Just a few days into our trip, and already starting to complain. Missing our families, our homes. The arms of loved ones. Even the seemingly simple things like home-cooked dinners, computers, and our own cars: the comforts of our privileged lives back in America

Suddenly, the doors opened, and they filed in.

…Children.

On crutches, on wheelchairs. With walkers. Some limped in, while others were carried in. Missing limbs—arms, legs, fingers and toes. Parts of our bodies that we often take for granted and just moments ago had been complaining about. For the most part they were quiet; silently making their way down an aisle that was not wide enough for all of their wheelchairs.

Suddenly, our aching  feet,  the pain in our backs disappeared. Before us sat dozens of children. Abandoned children. Orphaned children. Forsaken children. Children who could not speak for themselves. We stood there quietly, the words on our lips forgotten as we fought back tears.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, the Bible commands us. Not only because they cannot, but because when you speak up for someone else, you find yourself speaking up less and less for your own rights. When you discover someone else’s need, you find you have little strength, little concern, and little time for your own needs.

That afternoon, surrounded by children whose bodies might be broken but whose hearts and spirits are very much alive, we felt God’s gentle reminder to speak up for these little ones, and in the process humble ourselves.

…And we were humbled.

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