During a school screening in one of the villages after only a few days in South Sudan, I tried to soothe the children who waited, some a little uncertainly, as they sat upon benches to receive their wellness exams from the medical doctors. I only had so many words with which I could communicate in Juba Arabic, and I had already used most of those to take their arm and height measurements and get them to their seats; so I tried a universal language – song.
I understood that part of the reason for these children’s fears was because medical exams can be scary, even for adults. But these children also were not used to seeing “Khawaaja” – a word that technically means “foreigner” but they use for “white people” (who are recognizably foreign in the region of the very dark-skinned Southern Sudanese people). These children had displayed a realm of emotions about us being there – from open curiosity to unconcealed fear.
While sitting among these children, I began to sing “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” One of the teachers came up to the children with a big smile and assured them, “This is a good song.” In a world that sometimes acts otherwise, it’s one that has always comforted my heart. I wanted it to comfort theirs too.
This field trip into the bush also emphasized to me how very easy it is to love children, even when they do not/cannot always reciprocate that emotion. And that makes me understand how it must be so easy for Jesus to love us – because even when we are rejecting his love, or not reciprocating it, He still sees us as his children. We are precious in his sight.
Can you imagine the world in which we could live if we could all see one another through that same lens? What if we saw everyone through the lens that showed each person as a broken, hurting, fearful, precious child, in need of comfort and reassurance? Would we be so quick to dismiss others from our presence who weren’t like us, in any number of ways?
Amer, asfar, asuwed, abiyad,
We are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
So those are the thoughts that came to my mind when I read the Weekly Photo Challenge on One Love this week. And it caused me to take a little photo editing liberty to make my own “abiyad” as freakishly obvious in this portrait as it may sometimes appear to those little ones, while still portraying the contrasting oneness of a precious shared moment across the world.
Asuwed + Abiyad = One Love