Visiting a small orphanage of street children in Beijing, China was intended to bring the children a touch of God’s love and help from our mission team, but we left being touched by the voice of an angel.
Our tour of the tiny facility shocked our senses. Small children were confined in cribs, not strapped down, just left alone because there weren’t enough workers to give them attention. Older children sitting on stools near the kitchen balanced bowls of ingredients in their laps, each doing their part to feed everyone and sustain the work.
But our last encounter gave us all an unexpected gift. Unable to contribute like the other children was a 16-year old girl, blind from birth, sitting in a chair in an open room. She sensed our approach and straightened as our leader spoke her name, said something in Chinese and introduced us. She nodded in our direction. For a moment there was silence as we waited and wondered.
And then it happened. Notes of music as clear as crystal rippled in the air like the waving silk banners in the markets. We were awed. Speechless. And though she sang in her native Mandarin tongue, the tune was unmistakable: “Jesus Loves Me.” Written in 1860 as a poem for a novel, the words were set to music and quickly spread around the globe as missionaries taught the tune to new disciples in every land.
We think of this tune primarily as a children’s song, but the words are the simple essence of the gospel. The love of God demonstrated by Jesus’ life and death on the cross opens the door for anyone to come in. “Jesus loves me! He who died; Heaven’s gate to open wide; He will wash away my sin; Let His little child come in.”
As we think of love this month it is God’s love that should be our focus for His word tells us, “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). We cannot love well or long on our own. May we all be like little children learning to love and singing of Jesus’ love to us.