The big news here in the county is the young girl gone missing. The picture I’ve seen in the paper shows her smiling, happy, her head cocked a bit to the side so her long hair spills. She disappeared a little over a week ago. Police traced her cell phone to northern Virginia until it was turned off. Her Facebook account was deactivated a bit later. The county sheriff says she’s likely been lured away by someone she met over the internet. Facts are few and closely guarded, but as I write this the signs point to human traffickers. Authorities believe she is still in the state. I hope that’s true. I hope she comes home. And yet every day she doesn’t increases her danger. In another week’s time, she could be anywhere in the world.
It took me a bit to write that first paragraph. I kept going back over it, looking at the words. Not editing or revising or anything else that people who call themselves writers like to say they do, but because I have a daughter myself. Because such a thing could happen even in my quiet corner of America. But such is our world now. It has claws, and their reach is long.
When I sat down to write a post, it wasn’t going to be about this story. I planned to do the usual and find some tiny facet of my life that held some greater meaning. That’s what I do. I put on my hat and play the blogosphere’s version of some spiritualized Duck Dynasty. I tell you there’s hope even when there seems to be none, that god is watching and His angels are guarding and that no matter who you are and what you wish to become, you are more and made for greater. All those things are true. I believe them with everything that’s in me.
But above all I am also honest with you, dear reader, and so I will honestly say right now life feels a little dimmer. Perhaps it was the story of the missing girl. But maybe it was more than that. Maybe it was all the other stories I’ve read and seen in the last week, tales of hurt and want and greed, accounts that prove we as a nation have forgotten ourselves.
It’s been said that the good times we all long for never really happened, that things have always been as bad as they are right now. I think there’s truth in that. I also think the utopia some try to build through government will never happen. We can cure cancer and talk to someone on the other side of the world and reach other planets, but in the end we can’t fix our own sin, we can’t talk to our own neighbors, and we’re strangers to the ground beneath us.
We are all broken, in need of grace. That’s what I’ve learned this week. And I’ve learned that if there is any hope for this world at all, it will come not only through Christ, but through Christ in us. The bad things in the world happen in large part because the good people in the world allow it.
Maybe that’s my point. Maybe. But maybe the greater point is that at this moment there is a frightened little girl somewhere in the world who screwed up and just wants to come home. I’m sure she would appreciate your prayers.