My heart goes out to Adrian Peterson. No parent should have to bury their child. No toddler should be intentionally harmed, let alone killed.
But can I be real for a second? What about all the other children who are killed every year? What about the ones killed by their actual parents? What about the millions of American children who are physically, sexually, and emotionally abused in this country – maybe even right next door in your rich educated neighborhood – Every. Single. Day.
You know those commercials about foster kids? Those kids are foster children because their lives were at risk as a result of how their PARENTS treated them.
So yes, pray for Adrian Peterson. And thank God that it wasn’t him who murdered his son. Thank God that the child’s abuser has been identified and held accountable. Thank God that Mr. Peterson has the financial means to pursue justice for his son.
But don’t stop there. Pray for the children dying slowly behind closed doors. The ones who are afraid to go to bed at night and the ones afraid to wake up in the morning. The ones who are safer in their dream worlds while hell rages around them. The ones whose brains have been damaged so that they can’t control their emotions, reactions, or moods. Pray for the kids squatting against a wall for hours because they spilled something, or the ones forced to drink hot sauce because they interrupted, or the ones wearing long sleeves to hide scratches and cigarette burns. Pray for the ones who fear death so much that they are afraid to ask for salvation. I’ve called almost 150 of these children “my kids,” and I know the gritty details of stories that would haunt your dreams… they haunt mine… the stories of real, live, small, beautiful, amazing, unbelievable, resilient, powerful young lives.
Pray for the children no one hears. The ones no one even suspect have a problem because they are clean and like to laugh, or because they get good grades. Pray for the children who will never be noticed because they are invisible, who will never be redeemed because there are no resources, who will be blamed because no one speaks for them, who will be lost because no one has the courage to look, who will be broken because no one takes the time to properly love them.
Pray for all the kids watching all the attention this story is getting and wishing it was them, just so someone would care and fight for them.
And then look, if you dare. Because these kids are all around you… in every store, every restaurant, every classroom, every neighborhood, every church, every playground. They are there waiting, watching, wondering if YOU might finally be the person who sees them.
I looked, and it has been the scariest and most rewarding adventure I could have possibly imagined. It has been my honor to know and see and fight and love with and for them. I am stronger and tougher and more forgiving and more resilient and more passionate because of them. They are my heroes.
May this precious lost child be the window that allows us to see them all.