Here is what I can't understand. It's in the news today.
After their 2-year-old son, Daniel, was pronounced dead in hospital, his mother and her boyfriend went home to watch tv. And in another news recently, a father raped and pimped out his young 11-year-old daughter. When arrested, all he could say was this: "It was fun while it lasted."
In the first case, the mother (and her boyfriend) slapped her son almost everyday and was charged for child abuse. Yesterday, she was sentenced to 11 years jail and her boyfriend to 10 years and 12 strokes.
Here's a brief background. She has six children. Her eldest is 20. Her ex-husband, the boy's father, was in prison for drug offences. She lived with her boyfriend.
They abused little Daniel for five-week straight (starting in Oct last year). Slapping him repeatedly, making him stand with his hands on his head wearing only a nappy, forcing him to eat a spoonful of dried chili, and stamping on his chest.
This was what happened the day before he died. Daniel refused his breakfast and his mother slapped him three times. When Daniel fell, her boyfriend stamped on his chest. Later that evening, while Daniel was made to stand, he felt tired and rested his hand on the bed frame. For that, he was slapped again.
As Daniel was lying on the floor out of exhaustion, the couple fed him chili and made him stand again. As he wavered due to fainting spell, they launched another string of abuse at Daniel. This time the abuse went full throttle.
They slapped and kicked his chest and stomach and Daniel hit his head against the floor. As he was lying on the floor, they force-fed him chili for the second time until mucus came out of his nose. The next morning, at 8 am, the paramedic were called in on a motionless Daniel and they can't find a heartbeat.
The second abuse happened in Australia. Her father repeatedly raped his daughter when she was between 11 and 13 years old. He even invited strangers to abuse her while he watched and participated. One of the men who answered the call was a former church pastor.
It reports that "on one occasion when the father and another man were filming, the girl was shown shackled to a bed, wearing a dog collar, and in the footage, she could be seen struggling against the restraints and pleading with (her father) to stop."
Lesson? I can hardly marshal up one...
When Jesus admonished his disciples to let the children come to him, do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these, three minds come to my mind.
First, I wonder, what was running in the minds of little Daniel and that young Australian girl when the one who was supposed to protect them becomes their tormentor? I can only imagine their fear, confusion, anger, agony and pain.
The judge who sentenced the couple said, "The idea of a mother causing such grievous hurt and ill-treatment of the baby she had carried for nine months is simply incomprehensible... (Daniel) had been subjected to abuse and pains at the hands of the very persons who should have been his source of support, comfort and happiness."
Second, what was running in the minds of their supposed protector turned abusers? I guess the evil of men is no stranger to the history of humanity. We are capable of anything, the highest good or the unthinkable evil. And the most incomprehensible of them all is the evil that arises out of supposed love, support and protection.
It was reported that when sentenced, both of them showed no emotion. This was in stark contrast to Daniel's biological father and Daniel's former caregivers, "who could not contain their tears afterward."
One of the caregivers who took care of Daniel from birth until his mother took him back last October said, "He was a happy boy. We love him so much. He was not a difficult child. Even though I didn't give birth to him, I treated him as my own son."
Daniel's father cried, "I kept having images of my son being bullied...how they kicked...punched, forced him to eat chili. I keep thinking about my son. I hoped that I could celebrate Hari Raya with him. But I can't."
Third, what was running in Jesus' mind? He must have seen it all. Experienced it himself even. Felt the helplessness. Endured the agony and pain. What then went through his mind at such time when Daniel died from the abuse, when the young daughter was raped by her father and strangers, and when million of children go through deprivation, torture, starvation and sexual abuse everyday, and eventually succumbed?
Alas, I will never know or understand, even a fraction of, the mind of God.
At such time, it is cold comfort to say that we live in a fallen world with fallen world consequences, and a better world awaits on the other side. In sheer helplessness, I have to accept the unacceptable and move forward to change the changeable. At times, you need more than the serenity prayer to bridge the gap. You need serenity.
Let me close with what I call the "silenced humanity".
Not every lesson can be taught.
Not every lesson is learned.
Not every life will be blessed.
And not every blessed life will live.
Not every pain has an answer.
Not every answer comes without pain.
Not every hope comes true.
And not every truth spells hope.
Not every prayer is heard.
Not every prayer heard is delivered.
Not every rescue endures.
And not every endurance is rescued.
Not every trust is good.
And not every good can be trusted.
Not every death is tragic.
For some are timely; less barbaric.
This is how humanity silences humanity.
This is how hope silences hope.
For nothing hurts more than a silent divinity.
And this is how we must all cope.