We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. I Chronicles 29:15
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:5
Hope does not put us to shame.
Shame condemns. Shame grows as one’s weaknesses are exposed. Shame is defined as “a condition of humiliating disgrace.”
Shame strips us of our dignity.
There were parts of India that were hard to see. Realities of poverty and the exposure of shame. Dignity was lost between the streets used as bathrooms and the cows that roamed as gods. It was shocking to my soul.
My soul was shocked by the dignity that evaporates when the last drop of hope is squeezed out. Hope clothes us with dignity. Hope is what gives us worth. So what becomes of one without hope at all? It seems inconceivable (especially to an American mind) that one could be completely. without. hope.
Dig°ni°ty: the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed
Tears stream down my face as I think of the life of the woman cutting shoes for rubber. Has she never been told the worth she has in the eyes of the very One who created her? I want to tell her.
I want to honor her and the devotion with which she works. I want to give her dignity. And I want to wrap my arms around those precious little bodies of youth and pour over them words of esteem. Of hope.
My friend Kirby, who graciously allowed me to use these photos he took firsthand in Indian and Filipino slums, spends every day of his life working to bring hope to the least of these. I am so jealous. We help him in every way we can and yet I can never send enough to satiate my heart’s yearning to touch these lives.
He provides them with clothes and places to learn. Peace Gospel, the ministry he started, trains widow in how to sew, rescues girls from a life of sex-trade. He takes pictures of those who have never even seen a reflection of themselves before. He brings hope. He clothes with dignity.
It is crazy beautiful.
That is the crazy beautiful I want my life to be about. May God grant me the grace to clothe others in dignity. Dignity brought through hope in a God who loves the very least among us.