I will tell you now, that if you read this and find the focus to be on me or some kind deed that I have done, then I have not done my due diligence in writing the story.
And it's not even a story about a bunny...but the bunny is where I'll begin.
It was a couple of weeks after Easter, and I had gone in to the local Hallmark store to pick up birthday cards for upcoming family birthdays. There on the 75% off table, was the sweetest, softest little stuffed bunny. The stitching and design were so delicate and sweet. I admit, even in my 40's, that I am a sucker for a stuffed animal! I just love them, and now my babies are so grown up that I rarely have occasion to buy them anymore. I went through the cards and made my selections, and still kept going back to the bunny. I wracked my brain to think of any little one that might want it. I have no little nieces or nephews. Maybe I should just pass on the bunny. I started for the register a couple of times. But the bunny just wouldn't let me go. I picked it up and added it to my purchases.
On the drive home, my thoughts turned more into a prayer. I know it sounds weird...but it's true. I looked over at the bag with the bunny poking out of it, and I prayed that God would lead me to just the right child to give it to. I prayed that I could use that little discounted bunny to share the love of Jesus with someone.
The first time I saw her, I was immediately worried. She was sooo pale, and there were dark circles under her eyes. She looked so weak and sickly, I was convinced she was ill. I felt her forehead but she wasn't warm. I tried to ask her about any symptoms, but she barely spoke. The little girl I'm describing is 9 years old. She had seen her teenage neighbor getting on our church bus to come to the Sunday night youth program, and had wanted to come too. At her age, she really wasn't supposed to be coming, but we don't turn anyone away.
Part of our program always involves feeding the youth. Food is a vital part of any outreach ministry because you can always safely assume that there are truly hungry people in your midst. Feed the body and then feed the soul.
So I kept an eye on my little friend as we lined the kids up for the Sunday night meal. I was thinking she was sick and may throw up or something. Instead, I watched as she gobbled up her food and was transformed before my eyes. I asked her if she felt better as she went skipping out for game time. This little gal who a short time before could barely hold her head up, or say much at all, flashed me a big smile and said, "YES! I ate and I feel much better!"
It hit me like a brick. She hadn't been sick at all. She was HUNGRY. I asked her if she had eaten that day and she said no.
That was two weeks ago. Tonight, I knew little Sylvia was supposed to have Bunny. When I gave it to her, I stooped down and looked her in the eye and I told her to promise me that whenever she held the Bunny and played with it that she would remember that Jesus loved her very much. That He cared so much about her and her life. I told her that I loved her too and I placed a kiss on her forehead.
Our year at this church is quickly coming to a close. I don't know how often, or if ever I will see Sylvia again. And a little stuffed Bunny can't do much..,no, it can't do anything...to change the hard reality of the life she lives on a daily basis. That all of these kids live.
This isn't a story about me.
This isn't a story about a stuffed bunny
This isn't even a story about a little girl.
To my way of thinking, this is a story about a God who cares enough about hungry little girls to use stuffed animals and flawed people like me to reach out to them.
There's so much hurt and pain and trouble in this world. The more your eyes are opened to the needs around you, the more overwhelming it can seem. It can feel useless to even try sometimes. Yet
God has chosen to use us as vessels of His love and redemption to the world around us. The real question is are we listening closely enough for His voice to show us avenues of ministry. He does this through big miraculous undertakings sometimes. And sometimes He just does it through small things. Like stuffed bunnies.