There is a beautiful passage in chapter 16 of Ezekiel where God uses a metaphor to display His continued love for His people:
4 As for your birth, your umbilical cord wasn’t cut on the day you were born, and you weren’t washed clean with water. You were not rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths.
5 No one cared enough about you to do even one of these things out of compassion for you. But you were thrown out into the open field because you were despised on the day you were born.
6 I passed by you and saw you lying in your blood, and I said to you as you lay in your blood: “Live!” Yes, I said to you as you lay in your blood: “Live!”
7 I made you thrive like plants of the field.
God said, “Live!”
I once spent eighteen months working at an emergency children’s shelter. This shelter held a capacity of twelve children, from infants to eighteen-year-olds, whom the Department of Human Services removed from their homes. The children lived at our shelter for forty-five days while the state investigated to determine whether to return the children to their homes or whether they needed to place the children elsewhere.
These children came with many stories and traumas. Some children were there because of the incarceration of their parent, or because of their behavior, or because of the behavior of others. A few children came back through our doors again and again, because they were in the system for years, cycling back and forth between foster homes, group homes, and our shelter. I was often saddened when my shift would start and I would hear a familiar but dry “Hey, Ms. Robin” and see some of those same children; again, realizing that wherever they were sent, it did not work out and now they were back in our facility, having to start the process all over again.
One evening, a social worker brought in a ten month old boy with a fractured skull. There was typical confusion and stress that most of the children felt when they were first transported to our facility, an unfamiliar environment, away from their families. We often saw that manifested in silent tears.
Yet, this poor baby screamed nearly all night. It was obvious he was in excruciating pain from the fractured skull. My heart was breaking for him. There was just no comforting him.
Even after that first night, he cried so much while he was in our facility’s care. He was an ashen color and just did not look very healthy. However, after we started feeding him on a regular basis and loving on him, his skin brightened, he plumped up, and his crying decreased greatly.
This reminds me of how transformative it is when we allow God to feed us with His Word and allow Him to love on us. No matter where we first encounter God, covered in mess, crippled with pain, abandoned, or unloved, God still sees us and God says, “Live!”