At first glance, Sam seems to be your average six year old boy, full of energy and enthusiasm. It won’t take you long, however, to notice his hands. Sam’s fingers are fused together in several places and one of his thumbs is malformed. Once you observe the unusual shape of his hands it will be hard not to continue to notice them. But there is also something else that will quickly, yet softly draw your attention to Sam.
Beyond his bubbly smile and his sugary sweet giggle, you’ll recognize that his heart is full of pure, unadulterated joy. You will notice his spirit of pure joy when he giggles at himself and when he hugs you around the neck you will appreciate his simplistic need for affection. However, it isn’t until you hear Sam’s story that you’ll realize that something so beautiful, innocent, and good can only come from our tender Heavenly Father.
Sam is a new student to Project Ruth. He comes to summer club from an orphanage for abandoned children. It will likely hurt your heart to know that he was abandoned, but then you will learn that many orphanages in this country are poorly run and the children are often not given much beyond their basic needs. You will attempt to soothe this harsh reality by telling yourself that surely such an good little boy would have no trouble finding a good home, but will soon hear that due to baby selling during The Communist Era, adopting a child in Romania is nearly impossible. In addition, when orphans become legal adults, they are usually kicked out on the streets to provide for themselves.
Then those delicately different little hands you first noticed might cross your mind.
It is then, once you truly understand the reality of Sam’s life, that you will realize that God must be the sole protector and provider for this little boy. God must have placed such a treasure of a spirit in Sam’s heart to make him resilient in the face of dark circumstances. Psalm 139:12 says, “even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for the darkness is as light to you.” Praise be to God, who can create such goodness, sweetness, and joy in the midst of such a broken world.
For two hours every day, five days a week, for four more weeks, I have the opportunity to share in Sam’s joy. I get to hug him and laugh with him, and teach him about where his joy comes from. But humbly, I know that I will be the one to learn from the purity and innocence God has placed in his heart to protect him. This week I am grateful for how Christ has used Sam to both captivate and break my heart, teaching me that he is the holistic provider, strongest protector, and most beautiful creator.
Sara Amos, Summer Venturer, Romania