Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Where Are You, God? by: Dena Dyer
As I began to hear the refugees’ stories through our trained interpreters, I realized that many of them had been raped and tortured by their fellow human beings. It was hard for me to fathom.
One day, a co-worker came into my cubicle, her face cloudy. Beside her stood a Burmese girl who'd recently arrived from another city. The child's black pageboy framed a heart-shaped face with dark eyes.
"Hi, sweetie," I said, even though I knew she couldn't understand a word of English.
My co-worker told me about the girl's family, and the story was hard to hear. Her sister had been raped in a refugee camp at the age of 12. She had become pregnant, and had delivered the baby after arriving in America. The teen, her baby, her father, and the child in front of me had come on their own to our city, so they weren't connected to a resettlement agency and lacked access to any kind of assistance. (Thankfully, they were in the office so we could assign a case worker to them). They'd survived unthinkable crimes and a journey across the planet--and now, they were just barely scratching out an existence.
“All they have in their apartment is a dirty mattress,” said my co-worker. “We’re going to give them some clothes and a few other things.”
As the child's father met with his case worker, I gave my new friend a children's book. She edged towards me a tiny bit as she saw the colorful illustrations. I smiled and showed her how to open the pop-up flaps.
"See? There are hidden pictures."
"You can have it," I said, longing to take her in my lap--or at least stroke her hair. Clutching the gift, she ran off. I followed. As I did, I noticed her clothes were dirty and her shoes were at least two sizes too big. They barely stayed on her small brown feet.
Suddenly, a wave of sorrow crashed over me. The truth about the things she and her family had experienced—along with the other stories I’d heard since starting this job--threatened to drown me. Angry, I sucked in my breath.
Where are you, God? I thought.
And then, as audibly as if He'd spoken it aloud to me, I heard: "I'm in You."
The truth of it gave me my breath back.
Yes, I thought.
I nodded, sighed...and caught up to my new friend. Gently, I took her hand. She smiled up at me, and didn't let go.
Excerpt from Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Hope When Life Hurts (Kregel, 2013) by Dena Dyer and Tina Samples. For more info, visit www.denadyer.com or www.tinasamples.com.
Speaker/author Dena Dyer’s books include Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Help When Life Hurts, Let the Crows’ Feet and Laugh Lines Come, and Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms. She serves as a contributing editor with The High Calling (www.highcalling.org). Visit her website (www.denadyer.com) to learn more.