El Paso: Last week the Rio Grande swept away a tiny little five-year old girl in a red dress to her death. Rescuers pulled her little body from the river and rushed her to the hospital. The doctors and nurses trying to save her life gave her the Spanish name “Esperanza” which literally means “hope.” Sadly within hours of her arrival she passed away surrounded by nurses who lovingly walked with her to the end.
When I first heard the news, I suspected the worse. I suspected she died in an attempt to find “hope” in America. As the events unfolded, and the pieces of the puzzle came together my fears turned into reality. Her father, who had legal immigration papers to enter the United States, wanted to get his family in with him but they did not have the papers, so he devised a plan to swim in. He and his little girl Eva would go first, and then later his wife and two sons would follow.
One factor the desperate father did not anticipate was the strong current of the Rio Grande. Apparently as they entered the water, the current swept his little girl away and he swam after her. Rescuers threw him a life line that he refused in his panic to save his daughter. Sadly, he too was swept away and apparently drowned as well.
In Juarez, the lure of the United States looms brightly on the horizon. One can stand of a dusty hilltop in Juarez and look across the river into a whole new world. A world filled the opportunity and hope. A world safe from the senseless violence on the streets.
Even though a huge fence has been erected to send the message “keep out” the lights, the towering buildings, and the cars racing by on the interstate call out to the desperate to try anyway.
I suspect one of the most effective ways to limit the allure would be to bring “hope” to the people of Mexico. In Micah 7, the prophet laments about the plight of his day. He reflects on the evil that surrounds him, and then a glimmer of light breaks through the darkness when he writes:
7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7 NIV)
Pray for the work of the Kingdom of God on the streets of Juarez and all along the border. Pray for the gospel of hope to be preached far and wide. The hope that satisfies the human soul cannot be found in wealth, affluence and power. No, it is found in the peace that passes all understanding that can make a poor man the richest among his peers.
In Richard Stearns book “The Hole in Our Gospel” I ran across this anonymous quote that captures our situation in so many ways:
We have shrunk Jesus to the size where He can save our soul but now don’t believe He can change our world.
In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus cut to the chase when He taught us to pray:
Thy Kingdom come and Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
The work of the Kingdom of God begins here and now. Let’s get busy spreading hope especially to those living in desperation.