Tuesday, April 25, 2006

But for the grace of God...there go a great many more...

I typically do not watch the news or read the paper. It’s depressing and the paper makes my fingers black, so I tend to avoid any news that isn’t transmitted via the MSN home page or the radio. But, I do have to scan the newspaper for things related to my job and occasionally an article catches my attention. Last week, this item stopped me in my tracks:

Deputies shoot and kill man beating daughter
Jason Brown jbrown@theadvertiser.com
CADE - By all accounts, 3-year-old Kaloey Laigh Kittiraj's death was brutal. Deputies called to a home late Wednesday found her battered and bloodied at the hands of her father, Sengdao Kittiraj, 32.

He continued beating the girl as they watched. They ordered him to stop. They sent out a dog to attack him. Ultimately, they shot him to death. But it was all too late to save her life.

The toddler died from her injuries Thursday morning at Lafayette General Medical Center.

I have a three year old niece. Needless to say, reading just this much nearly brought on full-fledged sobs.

I don’t often ask God “Why?” But when I hear things like this…I do. The bible says that children are a gift from the Lord. Why, then, does He choose to gift children to people such as this? People who neglect, abuse and even kill those that were gifted to them?

I don’t know. I know God knows and because of who He is, there is a reason and an ultimately good one. Certainly, He could prevent things like this. He could choose to only give children to those who are mentally stable and non-violent…but He doesn’t. He never really protects us from sin, does He? Without being confronted and effected and even hurt by it, we would never see and acknowledge our need for God. So allowing it to remain is a mercy which is intended to lead to the ultimate good. One that isn’t just momentarily good (and sometimes even flies in the face of what is momentarily good), but one that is eternally good.

Unfortunately, though, sin has consequences. As the bible says “the sins of the father are visited on the son.”

Or the daughter.

As the story above shows, sometimes kids get caught in the crossfire…and sometimes it is tragic…even fatal.

I can’t imagine what could have provoked anyone to do this to his child. But no doubt, had things not escalated to this point and the father had not been shot and the child had not been killed, this little girl may have experienced a lifetime of savage beatings and fear…and perhaps repeated that pattern on children of her own. As horrific as her short life and death was, I have to believe that in allowing her to die so young the Lord had mercy on her and spared her a great deal. In allowing her father to be killed as well, who knows who else is receiving mercy by being spared the violence and wrath of this one man.

After the tears stopped, I got on-line and tried to find out more about this incident. I wanted to understand…to know why…to know what happened. I didn’t find that and kind of doubt that anyone ever will understand, but I did find the picture of little Kaloey (posted above) and this

Each day, four children in the United States die as a result of maltreatment. In 2003, nearly 3 million reports concerning the welfare of approximately 4.5 million children were reported nationally as having been abused or neglected. Of those 4.5 million children, investigations determined that 906,000 had been the victims of abuse or neglect.

Tragically, the highest rate of child maltreatment occurs to our youngest and most vulnerable children, those under the age of five. In addition, younger children die more often from abuse and neglect.

Most alarming is the fact that the perpetrators are, by definition, the very same individuals responsible for the care and supervision of their victims.

Very sobering. But no matter how upsetting or overwhelming the statistic, there is hope. So long as God is God there is a chance to make things better. There is a chance to change things. There is a chance to protect children from the adults who would harm them. First, we can pray. Pray for those in abusive situations. Ask the Lord to rescue them, to shelter them, to deal with those harming them. He can turn an angry, selfish, violent heart into a loving, kind and gentle one. He can! Ask Him also to sustain and comfort the children and even insulate them from the truly damaging environment they are living in. He can do that, too. As holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom says, “There is no pit so deep or dark that God’s love is not deeper still.” Oh Lord, let them know that!

Second, we can support groups which are doing all they can to stop and prevent child abuse. April is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness month, and Friday, April 28th is “Blue Ribbon Friday.” Child Protection Agencies and Organizations across the country are urging people to wear a blue ribbon on Friday to heighten awareness and encourage people to take an active part in child abuse prevention.

Third, we can just love on and do all we know to do to protect the kids in our lives. When I read the news report of Kaloey’s death, I couldn’t help but see my niece and know that but for the grace of God, something equally horrific could happen to her. There are no guarantees that the children we love will be spared pain or suffering, but there is a loving a sovereign God that we can entrust them to...to do better for them and us than we can think or imagine. A God who hears our prayers and responds. A God who loves them far more deeply than we ever could. A God who has already laid down His life for them. I pray that we honor this loving God by loving and caring for and praying for and protecting the children He has gifted our lives with...and doing all we can for those less fortunate than the little ones we love.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I just got finished reading your post and I must say it was absolutely beautiful. That baby was like a daughter to me. I can only say the stories in the paper dont even grasp the horrific tale of what happened that night. I watched that baby grow up from the time she was born and she was beautiful and amazing. I never would have imagined her father doing that to her. I actually spend alot of time around him and he always seemed very mild tempered and shy. Her father, at the time, was actually my sisters brother in law. They were all like family to me. When her mother gave up custody of her, I wanted to adopt her, but then her father met this wonderful girl who took over the role of her mother. I still have pictures of Kaloey right after she started walking and I keep them close to me. It still hurts me to this day to know that that beautiful little girl is no longer here. She would be six now. Thanks for writing that beautiful article about her.