CLERGY CORNER:Lost and alone

Posted on 29 March 2012 by LeslieM

We had this young man, Toto, who lived about a block from our house in Corrientes, Argentina, whose parents were very violent. They would take turns beating him and then throw him out of the house.

I first met Toto in our backyard. Samuel had invited a group of boys from the neighborhood into the house.

While the boys were playing in the back, a neighbor woman came and told me I needed to be careful with Toto. Apparently, he was a thief. We soon got to know him as he spent more time in our house. I remember one day, Toto found a Tonka Truck collection I had saved since I was a child. He took the trucks, the Hot Wheels and other cars and sat down on the dining room floor and played all morning, afternoon and into the night. I asked him why he enjoyed those toys (because they were not for boys of his age; he was 14 at the time). He replied, “I’ve never had toys like this before, never even one toy car.”

Soon Toto was spending significant time in our house and, on occasion, he would spend the night when things were difficult at home. He never stayed too long because even though his parents beat him, he still loved them; they were his parents. He told us once of a story where he ran away from home and spent three months riding by truck all over the country. When he arrived home, his parents didn’t know he was gone. He was known to spend weeks at a time sleeping on the street because he was afraid to go home. What he noticed was that no one cared enough to look for him.

One day, Toto was acting very strange. He quickly said he had something to do and walked out of the house and didn’t return. It was then we realized that he had stolen Samuel’s birthday money. Fearing what had become of him, Beth and the boys set out to look for him. For weeks, we went to all the places he was known to sleep or hang out and never saw any trace of him.

Rolo, who has had several experiences with children like Toto told us it was hopeless.  “Once they steal from you,” Rolo said, “It’s over. You can never have him back in your house.”

I looked at Rolo and said, “If we never find him, how can we show him forgiveness?”  Through his tears, Rolo said, “We’ll find him.”

That night we got a phone call from Toto. He told us he was okay and was traveling again by truck. He didn’t realize we had caller ID and identified the place he called us from. We went to find him. When we got there, he was gone. We headed home defeated. About an hour after we got home, the doorbell rang. It was Toto! With huge tears in his eyes he said, “No one ever looked for me before.”

Have you ever felt like no one was looking for you? Do you ever feel like if you disappeared, no one would even notice? That’s how Toto felt. God’s word says in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

God is looking for you. He loves you, and he wants you to give Him your burdens.

Deron Peterson is is the Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Deerfield Beach.

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