December 9, 2010
Job & the Inner City
Washington DC is a fascinating city. It's a city of extremes. Possibly because no building can be built higher than the Capitol, it feels like a small and a big city. New York is filled with people of every color and ethnicity. DC is black and white. It's also elite and underprivileged, rich and poor. The minority is the middle class.
My ward is the same way and there is a lot of need. I'm currently serving as a Primary teacher. The kids in my class are mostly in foster care and from the projects, with an elected official's kid in attendance here or there. While much of class is spent trying to get my one steady class member, we'll call him Dk, not to read the scriptures like a robot or a TV preacher, we've shared more than a few treasured moments.
This past Sunday I had two 12-year old boys in attendance. We were talking about Job and how he went through many trials but never blamed God or stopped living the commandments. I asked if they had ever had an experience where something really awful happened but they didn't blame God. They both had.
Da. told us that his uncle had recently been murdered. He said he was like a father to him. "He taught me how to be a man and own up to the things I've done." It has been so, so hard for him but he said, "I never blame God because I know he's in a better place now."
Dk. followed by saying he knew what it was like to have people turn against you like Job. He is bullied sometimes at school. Recently, a kid at school rushed up to him, unprovoked, took him by the throat and rammed him into a wall. Dk somewhat violently demonstrated, in our classroom, his face getting slammed into the wall. The kid kept fighting him until the teacher broke it up. The kid was suspended. Dk said, "I just kept thinking I have Heavenly Father with me. I just kept thinking that in my mind. I have Heavenly Father with me and he has Satan with him."
We were all a bit emotional. We went on to talk about their futures and missions and the Priesthood and never getting into pornography. Before class was over we hugged, like we always do, and I told them I love them. And I do so, so much. But I'm grateful that God loves them more because who else can be there when life hits? Just like with Job, trials arise that test and deepen the trust we have that God is with us, no matter what it looks like in the moment.
Photos courtesy of here and here.