By Leland Ulrich, Board Chairman
What would you do differently if you had to build something to last for fourteen generations? This is a question I often ask myself when faced with meaningful decisions. It greatly impacts the response or answers we give when we think long-term. Fourteen generations is a long time; however, eternity is much longer--in fact, it is forever. I find it hard to fathom eternity. In our humanity, it is difficult to wrap our minds around it in a meaningful way. We are so bound by time that we long for a definition of eternity in relationship to time.
The reality of our eternal impact--whether good or bad--on the children at SLCH is quite sobering. Most of the children that come to SLCH are trapped in a cycle where family dysfunction generates more dysfunction. Looking into the hurting eyes of a young child who has been mistreated and abused is deeply moving and compels us to move mountains to help in whatever way we can. With the help of God, we have the opportunity to be a part of breaking this unhealthy cycle.
When working with children, we tend to focus on “the moment.” For example, we might wonder how our words and actions will impact the child at bedtime. Sometimes, we just want them to settle down so we can get our sleep or do what we want to do. Or, maybe we think further out and wonder how it will impact the day tomorrow. We may even think longer-term about how the decision will impact this child when they become a teenager. It is so easy for me to focus on how I want the child to behave rather than how I am building for eternity. Every day, I should ask myself how my decisions and responses will affect this child and others for eternity.
I have often wondered why God designed it so that we prepare for eternity in time rather than giving us an eternity to prepare to live a time. I wonder if there is something about God that we learn living in the presence of time that we would not be able to understand if we were brought directly into eternity as the angels are. The Scripture says our relationship with God is a mystery to them.
As I ponder this truth, I am impressed that God chose to use mere mortals to do His work here on earth, especially with children who are eternal beings. Working with children or human beings, in general, is the only work we do that is eternal. Everything else will burn up. The eternity of children is at stake. All our work with children should ultimately be to show them the love of the Father and the Son.
I have a deep respect for the countless hours our staff members put into loving these little ones by showing them the Father’s love in good and bad times and through the messiness of life. The work of building for eternity through caring for these children has a way of gripping the heart of every childcare worker and staff member who has dedicated themselves to this calling. Seeing children grow up and become faithful parents and members of the household of faith is incredibly rewarding. It is then that we see a generational cycle broken, and we give all the glory of God.
I ask you, dear reader, to support the work of Shining Light Children’s home by praying for our staff members as they relate to the children and endeavor to make a safe and secure environment while building for eternity.